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Uygur
13-01-05, 15:26
PM urged to press Beijing
Toronto Star[Thursday, January 13, 2005 20:26]
By TONDA MACCHARLES

OTTAWA — A coalition of human rights organizations is appealing to Prime Minister Paul Martin to adopt a comprehensive strategy on human rights in China on his upcoming visit.

At a news conference this morning, the group will release a five-page letter sent to Martin yesterday that urges him to mark out a different approach to the one taken by former prime minister Jean Chrétien.

"Trade cannot be allowed to overshadow human rights during this visit," said Alex Neve, secretary general for Amnesty International Canada.

"Our concern is that's absolutely been the past practice and experience. Our hope is we have a new Prime Minister, a new moment in time and there is a possibility for a different approach this time."

Martin added whirlwind visits to Thailand and Sri Lanka to a previously planned trip to India, China and Japan.

He'll survey tsunami relief efforts in those countries and thank volunteers who are helping to track Canadian victims or deliver Canadian aid.

But his trip is mainly focused on forging stronger ties at top levels with what senior government officials characterized as the three Asian giants — India, China and Japan.

Martin will pitch his idea for a new forum for multilateral decision-making — the so-called L-20 — and Canada's views on global security, as well as advocate for better access by Canadian companies to those emerging markets.

Rights advocates want Martin to raise specific cases of individuals they say have been jailed or tortured in China.

The coalition includes Amnesty International, Rights and Democracy, Canadian Labour Congress, Toronto Association for Democracy in China, Uyghur Canadian Association, Canada Tibet Committee, Falun Dafa Association of Canada, PEN Canada and Democracy China Ottawa.

Neve said Canada should establish "benchmarks" that China ought to meet on human rights. It ought to identify specific laws to be reformed and international treaties to be signed.

Federal officials said Martin will discuss human rights in general terms.

Turdi Ghoja
13-01-05, 19:14
Well done, Uyghur Canadian Association! Keep up the good work.

Turdi