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Asia-Pacific Working Group

APWG brings together approximately 20 Canadian NGOs involved in human rights, democracy and development in the Asia-Pacific region.

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LATEST NEWS FROM APWG


APWG MEMBERS RESPOND TO THE EARTHQUAKE IN NEPAL

On 25 April 2015, a massive earthquake struck Nepal and part of neighboring India. More than 4,000 people are known to have been killed. Nepal is one of the poorest countries on the planet and its infrastructure is not designed to cope with the strength of this type of earthquake, the most devastating in over a century.

Several members of the APWG are responding to this humanitarian disaster. Follow the links below to learn about what each of these organizations is doing to assist the Nepalese people.

Canadian Cooperative Association
Christian Children’s Fund of Canada
Canadian Red Cross
CARE Canada
Development and Peace
Handicap International
Léger Foundation
Oxfam Canada
The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund
United Church of Canada
World Vision Canada
Presbyterian World Service & Development

APWG meeting with Canada’s representative on the Asian Development Bank’s Board of Directors
12 March 2015 | Ottawa

The APWG will host a meeting between its members and David Murchison, Canada's representative on the Board of Directors of the Asian Development Bank. This meeting will be an opportunity for members to hear about the role of the ADB and discuss the activities of the Bank. Members can contact the APWG coordinator, Denis Côté (dcote@ccic.ca), to register.


APWG country-specific discussion groups are planning their first meetings

The APWG recently created three country-specific discussion groups on Afghanistan, Indonesia and the Philippines. These groups are convened by the members and will start developing their specific agendas during their first meetings to be held in the coming weeks. If you are interested in joining one of these discussion groups, please contact the APWG coordinator, Denis Côté, at dcote@ccic.ca.



APWG General Members’ Meeting
22 January 2015 | 9:15am-4:30pm
CCIC Office: 39 McArthur Avenue, Ottawa

This meeting presented an opportunity for APWG members to discuss issues related to development and human rights in the Asia-Pacific and set priorities for the work of the group in 2015. The day included discussions around the joint research of the three CCIC regional working groups on investment treaties and human rights; the CCIC campaign on post-2015; and sessions to plan APWG activities for 2015.

APWG Event: “Child protection issues and promising practices in Asia”
14 January 2015 | 2pm to 4pm
Panel & webinar

The APWG hosted an event in collaboration with World Vision Canada on child protection issues and promising practices in Asia. The event featureD presentations by three speakers:

  • Elizabeth Satow, National Director of World Vision International Nepal
    “Child marriage and other issues for children in Nepal”
  • Connie Sorio, Ecological Justice Partnerships Coordinator at Kairos
    “Child protection in the face of/under Oplan Bayanihan in the Philippines”
  • Sharon Njobo, Manager, Sponsor Services, Christian Children's Fund of Canada
    “Child sponsorship as a child protection tool: case study from India”

The event was recorded and you can watch it here. You will also find pictures of the event on our CCIC Flickr page.



The APWG-DFATD meeting
5 December 2014 | 9:30am-12:30pm
DFATD Office in Gatineau

This was the second meeting between the APWG and DFATD in 2014. After a short introduction from DFATD to present updates related to their work in the region, the participants were divided into four groups to discuss development priorities in specific countries: Bangladesh, Burma/Myanmar, Indonesia, and the Philippines. APWG members made short presentations to launch the conversation on each country. A meeting report was circulated to members. For more information, please contact Denis Côté (dcote@ccic.ca).


APWG interview with Bangladeshi land and women’s rights activist Khushi Kabir
On October 10, the APWG conducted an interview with Khushi Kabir, coordinator of the Bangladeshi NGO Nijera Kori. Ms. Kabir talked about the work of her organization and the approach that Nijera Kori takes to improve access to, and control over, land in Bangladesh for the rural poor. 

 


Presentations on the Control over Natural Resources in Asia

Speaker: Mary Ann Manahan (Focus on the Global South)
15 September 2014

The APWG hosted two presentations by Mary Ann Manahan, program officer with Focus on the Global South-Philippines Programme. Mary Ann joined Focus in 2003 and works on the Reclaiming the Commons programme, with focus on land, water, social and environmental justice and gender issues. Her work combines activism, research, advocacy and campaigning.

In her first presentation, entitled Springs of Hope: Alternatives to the Privatization and Commercialization of Water in Asia, Mary Ann provided an overview of water issues in Asia, offered a quick scan of the level of water service delivery and type of providers, tackled the problem of liberalization in services, and presented various alternatives to the current model.  In her second presentation, entitled Resource Grabbing in Asia, she shared some of the trends around land and resource grabbing - which is transforming rural Southeast Asia – and she discussed resistance struggles, including key demands and alternative perspectives/visions.


Learning Opportunity: Asian Development Bank’s Current Approach to CSO Partnerships

8 July 2014

The APWG organized a conference call with Haidy Ear-Dupuy to learn about and discuss the Asian Development Bank’s current approach to CSO partnerships. As part of ADB's NGO and Civil Society Center, Haidy provides coordination and support to ADB’s civil society focal points in the South Asia region to strengthen civil society participation in ADB-financed projects. Before joining the ADB, Haidy was a Senior Policy Advisor at World Vision International (WVI) where she managed working relationships with multilateral institutions and the coalitions of NGOs working to promote the advancement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Haidy also worked with Oxfam America as Sustainable Livelihoods Officer, where she developed a river-basin development strategy to support communities living along the Mekong River.

Regional APWG Member Meeting
10 June 2014 | Toronto

APWG members met in Toronto to discuss the recent and upcoming activities of the APWG. This meeting provided an opportunity for members to share their reflections on the working group and to provide inputs and suggestions for future activities. The meeting took place at the office of Kairos in Toronto. To receive a copy of the report from this meeting, contact Denis Côté (dcote@ccic.ca).



Transition from Emergency Humanitarian Relief to Long Term Development in the Philippines and South Sudan

9 June 2014 | University of Toronto

The Africa-Canada Forum, the Asia-Pacific Working Group and PAGER collaborated to organize an event on the topic of the transition from relief to recovery. More specifically, speakers addressed issues related to the transition from emergency humanitarian relief to long term development in the Philippines and South Sudan. Jess Agustin (Development and Peace) spoke about the work of his organization in the Philippines after the devastation left by typhoon Yolanda while Jim Davis (Kairos) shared his perspective on the dire situation in South Sudan. The panel was moderated by Julian Murray, an experienced consultant in international development and humanitarian assistance who worked with the UNHCR and CIDA. More than 30 people participated in this event held at the University of Toronto.

The Annual Meeting between the APWG and DFATD
April 04, 2014

In 2012 and 2013, the APWG organized annual meetings with the staff of CIDA’s Asia Branch to discuss development and human rights issues in the Asia-Pacific region. Such a meeting was held again this year, in April 2014, this time however with the participation of people from the three branches of DFATD: foreign affairs, trade and development. The result was a very informative half-day meeting which brought together 36 members of the APWG and 76 people from DFATD. The first part of the meeting was devoted to a plenary discussion. The second half consisted in breakout group discussions by country of interest. A meeting report will be distributed to members shortly.


The APWG appeared at the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade

March 06, 2014

Denis Côté, on behalf of the Asia-Pacific Working Group (APWG), appeared as witness before the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade. The Committee was conducting a "Study on security conditions and economic developments in the Asia-Pacific region, the implications for Canadian policy and interests in the region, and other related matters". The main points raised in APWG’s presentation were a reminder that Asia was not just a good place to do business but also a region facing serious development and human rights challenges; labour rights in Cambodia and Bangladesh; land grabbing (notably for agrofuels production) in Southeast Asia; and the need more generally to ensure that Canadian trade and investment agreements reinforce - rather than undermine - the capacities of states to meet their human rights obligations.

Video recording available here


Joint Letter from Canadian Organizations to Cambodian Embassy on Respecting Worker’s Rights in Cambodia


Twenty-two human rights, trade union student, international development and community organizations from Canada and Quebec,  including APWG, have signed an Open Letter to the Cambodian Embassy. This letter addresses the need for worker’s rights in Cambodia and condemns the violence perpetrated by members of the police and armed forces against striking garment workers in Cambodia.

Read the full letter released on Feb 10, 2014 here


Joint Letter to Canadian companies re Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh

Twenty-five human rights, faith, women’s, teacher, student, community, overseas development and trade union organizations, including APWG and CCIC, have signed an Open Letter calling on Canadian retailers and brands to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh. To date, only one Canadian company, Loblaw (owner of Joe Fresh), has signed the Accord.

Read the December 18, 2013 media release here

Read the full letter here


“Rana Plaza Disaster – How Can Canada Promote Human Rights in Bangladesh? A Discussion with the Bangladesh Centre for Worker Solidarity“

On December 5, 2013 APWG hosted a webinar titled “Rana Plaza Disaster – How Can Canada Promote Human Rights in Bangladesh? A Discussion with the Bangladesh Centre for Worker Solidarity“. This event was co-organized by Canadian Union of Public Employees, the Maquila Solidarity Network and the Public Service Alliance of Canada Social Justice Fund, in collaboration with the Asia-Pacific Working Group.

The video of Kalpona’s presentation is available here


Donations for the Philippines
- Typhoon Haiyan

Typhoon Haiyan tore through the Philippines on November 8, displacing 3 million people and affecting the life of 10 million more according to the United Nation’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Since then, the United Nations has launched an appeal for US$301 million to help relief efforts in typhoon-hit areas of the Philippines.

Canada has established a mechanism to match the donations made by individual Canadians to registered Canadian charities. For every eligible dollar donated by individual Canadians to registered Canadian charities until December 23, 2013, the government will set aside one dollar for the Typhoon Haiyan Relief Fund.

The following APWG members are amongst the registered Canadian charities accepting donations and eligible for the Matching Relief Fund:

Christian Children’s Fund of Canada
Canadian Co-operative Association
Canadian Red Cross
Development and Peace
L’Oeuvre Léger
Mennonite Central Committee
Oxfam Canada
Presbyterian World Service & Development
Primate World Relief and Development Fund
United Church Canada
World Vision Canada


Book launch & webinar with author Andrew M. Fischer:
"The Disempowered Development of Tibet in China"


14 November 2013

Andrew Fischer presented his new book, which takes a deeper look at the characteristics of subordination, discrimination and disadvantage that led to the 2008 demonstrations and that have inspired more than 120 self-immolations since 2009.  He concludes that without efforts to resolve the asymmetrical power relations in Tibet, economic development will not produce lasting benefits for the Tibetan people. This event was organized by the Canada Tibet Committee with the collaboration of the Asia-Pacific Working Group.


The Human Rights Challenge for Ethnic Minorities in China: Examples from Eastern Turkestan, Mongolia, and Tibet

29 October 2013

Three of the largest minority groups - the Uyghurs, Tibetans and Mongolians - have maintained a decades-long struggle for increased autonomy or political control over their territories and cultural traditions, and efforts by the Government of China to limit and control these struggles have resulted in wide-ranging human rights violations. Kayum Masimov (Uyghur Canadian Society), Enghebatu Togochog (Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center), Tashi Wangdi (Member of the Tibetan Government's task force for negotiations with the Government of China) and Alex Neve (Amnesty International Canada) provided their insights on the human rights challenges facing these minorities. This webinar discussion is co-sponsored by Amnesty International Canada, the Canada Tibet Committee, the Mongolian Human Rights Information Center, and the Uyghur Canadian Society with the collaboration of the Asia-Pacific Working Group.

The recording of this webinar if available on request by contacting Denis Côté (dcote@ccic.ca).


Two new APWG Reports : Annual Symposium 2013 and Annual Meeting with CIDA Asia Branch


July 2013

The Asia-Pacific Working Group (APWG) of CCIC organized its one-day annual symposium on April 16th in Ottawa. The APWG Annual Symposium focused primarily on Canada’s trade and investment agenda in Asia and its impacts on populations in the region. Speakers included Sanya Reid Smith (Third World Network), Afsar Jafri (Focus on the Global South), Ah Nan (Burma Rivers Network), Stuart Trew (Council of Canadians), Daniel Poon (North-South Institute) and Denis Côté (APWG-CCIC). Summary report of the symposium.

APWG members also met with CIDA Asia Branch staff on May 29th to discuss various issues, including the CIDA-DFAIT merger and its potential impacts on development programs and projects in the region, coordination with CIDA’s Partnership with Canadians Branch, as well as CIDA’s current priority countries and themes — with a focus on the role of the private sector. A summary report of the meeting is now available upon request for APWG members only.


APWG Roundtable-Webinar: Reproductive Justice in the Philippines
In collaboration with Inter Pares

5 June 2013 | Ottawa
The APWG and Inter Pares organized a roundtable and webinar with, Francisco “Kiko” dela Tonga. Kiko is a young staff member at Likhaan – a national women's health organization in the Philippines – and he spoke about the campaign for reproductive justice which led to the adoption of the Reproductive Health Bill being passed into law in the Philippines. To view the presentation, please click here.


APWG Meeting with CIDA Asia Branch

29 May 2013 | Ottawa
APWG members have met with CIDA Asia Branch on May 29th to discuss various issues, including the CIDA-DFAIT merger and its potential impacts on development programs and projects in the region, the coordination with CIDA’s Partnership with Canadians Branch, as well as CIDA’s current priority countries and themes — with a focus on the role of the private sector. The meeting was a success with more than 35 participants divided equally between APWG members and CIDA staff. After the roundtable meeting, APWG members were invited to discuss specific country programs in 5 breakout groups.


Welcome to 2 new APWG members!

April 2013
L’Oeuvre Léger and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) are now APWG members! The APWG has 27 member organizations in total. If your organization is interested in becoming an APWG member, please contact Denis Côté, APWG coordinator. 


APWG Annual Members’ Meeting

17 April 2013 | Ottawa
The APWG invited its members to participate in the working group’s annual meeting on the day following the symposium. Based on the discussion of April 16 and on their own priorities, members were invited to feed into and adopt the 2013-14 APWG work plan. Members have also adopted the budget and have discussed the current research projects and upcoming events of the working group.


2013 APWG Annual Symposium: Trade, Investment, and Human Rights in Asia

16 April 2013 | Ottawa
The APWG organized its one-day annual symposium on April 16th in Ottawa. The APWG Annual Symposium focused primarily on Canada’s trade and investment agenda in Asia and its impacts on populations in the region. Speakers included Sanya Reid Smith (Third World Network), Afsar Jafri (Focus on the Global South), Ah Nan (Burma Rivers Network), Stuart Trew (Council of Canadians), Daniel Poon (North-South Institute) and Denis Côté (APWG-CCIC). Many of them have raised human rights concerns associated with trade and investment agreements and suggested alternatives and means of mobilization against such agreements protecting corporate privileges. An audio recording of the event, summary reports of each presentation, as well as short filmed interviews with several speakers will soon be accessible on the APWG webpage (multimedia).


APWG Radio Interview

10 April 2013 | Ottawa
The Coordinator of the APWG gave a 10 minute interview on the radio program Click here to talk about the 2013 APWG Symposium. Click here is an interview-based, magazine style program on CHUO-FM 89.1 in Ottawa, heard every Wednesday from 5-6 p.m. and hosted by Mitchell Caplan. The show presents an alternative perspective on the arts and on community issues, focusing on issues not covered by mainstream media and on the underground arts scene.


APWG Meeting-Webinar on North Korea

In collaboration with CanKor
26 March 2013 | Ottawa
The APWG invited its members to an informal meeting with Andrei Lankov, renowned Russian historian and expert of North Korea. If you do not know yet Andrei Lankov or his views, you may check out one of his latest article published on CanKor.ca: Serious armed clash highly unlikely. He has expressed an interest in meeting with relevant NGOs, academics and civil society groups while in Ottawa. The APWG therefore offered to host this encounter at the CCIC offices in collaboration with CanKor. Different issues were highlighted during the meeting such as: the geopolitics of regional security (including but not limited to nuclear issue); human rights and humanitarian issues; the refugees/defectors issue; the role of the 6 Parties; the role of Russia and China; and the role of the non-6-P middle powers like Canada.


APWG Webinar: Land and Mining Issues in Cambodia

In collaboration with Development and Peace
12 March 2013
The APWG and Development and Peace organized a webinar with Mam Sambath, Executive Director of the organization Development and Partnership in Action (DPA) in Cambodia. Mam Sambath’s presentation discussed community organizing and rights-based approaches used by DPA in an evolving social climate, as well as how DPA is tackling and supporting progress on land and logging issues arising in target areas. In relation to DPA’s work in Ratanakiri, the presentation discussed the case of Angkor Gold Corp., the first Canadian publicly traded gold explorer in Cambodia and the second largest resource exploring landholder in the country. To view the presentation, please click here.


Burma Working Group Meeting

In collaboration with Inter Pares
4 March 2013 | Ottawa
In collaboration with Inter Pares, the APWG facilitated the organization of a meeting of the Burma Working Group (BWG). The BWG is open to all organizations and individuals interested in Burma, and provides an informal forum to discuss ongoing events in Burma, programs and campaigns related to Burma, and Canadian and international policy on Burma. Its meetings often include a guest speaker on a current topical issue, and also provide an opportunity for organizations to share information on their own activities, perceptions and interests. The BWG does not engage in projects or take common positions as a group.


APWG Event: Gender Equality in Asia-Pacific: Unfinished Business

In collaboration with the Institute of Women Studies
And the School of International Development and Global Studies (SIDGS), University of Ottawa
26 February 2013 | Ottawa
The Institute of Women Studies (IWS) and the School of International Development and Global Studies (SIDGS) at the University of Ottawa, in collaboration with the APWG, organized a presentation by Dr Shireen Lateef, Senior Advisor on Gender at the Asian Development Bank (ADB). This event was an opportunity to learn and inquire about the ADB’s gender strategies and approaches. 


APWG Webinar: Implications of free trade with India

13 February 2013
The APWG organized a webinar with Afsar Jafri of Focus on the Global South. Canada and India are in the midst of negotiating numerous free trade agreements with various partner countries around the world. Negotiations for a Canada-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) were launched in November 2010, and progress has been slow. This webinar has thrown some light in the controversial and critical aspects of this trade deal. To view the presentation, please click here.


APWG meeting with the Canadian Executive Director on the Board of the ADB

12 February 2013 | Ottawa
The APWG organized a meeting with Micheline Aucoin, the Canadian Executive Director on the Board of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to exchange on emerging development issues across the Asia-Pacific region. The main issues on the agenda included ADB’s re-engagement in Burma (Myanmar), human trafficking, and the new ADB accountability mechanism.


APWG Webinar: The Canada-China FIPA

28 January 2013
The APWG organized a webinar with Pitman Potter, Professor of Law and HSBC Chair in Asian Research at the University of British Columbia (UBC), and Ljiljana Biuković, Associate Professor at the UBC and Co-Director of the National Centre for Business Law. A few months after Canada and China signed a controversial investment agreement, this webinar took a look at the trade and human rights issues related to this new agreement. To view the presentation, please click here.


APWG Webinar: The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP)

22 January 2013
The APWG organized a webinar with Sanya Reid Smith of the Third World Network on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). The TPP is a free trade agreement which is stirring a lot of controversies and which promises to have important impacts in Asia. The webinar focused on presenting the nature of the proposed agreement, the way in which it will affect developing countries, and the main issues at stake. To view the presentation, please click here.

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