On February 17th, Scott Morrison, Liz Truss, and Guy Verhofstadt, the former Prime Ministers of Australia, the UK, and Belgium respectively, will join the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China’s Tokyo Symposium.
Just months away from the Hiroshima G7 Summit, the Symposium aims to encourage a coordinated democratic response to Beijing’s distortion of the international rules-based order.
Bringing together a large cross-party delegation of Japanese Diet Members with IPAC representatives from the EU, Canada, the UK, and Taiwan, the Symposium will focus on areas of major concern for all democratic nations around the world. These include Beijing’s threats to Taiwan, its use of economic coercion, its growing long-arm policing and malign influence operations abroad, as well as its gross domestic human rights abuses.
Legislators in IPAC’s network are expected to push for concrete policy responses to counter these threats, including but not limited to: a shared commitment to clean and resilient supply chains, a coordinated framework to counter Beijing’s transnational repression and interference in democratic processes, a secure and open Indo-Pacific, and the adoption and implementation of accountability and sanction mechanisms.
Each of the former Prime Ministers in attendance will address the symposium on a different area of policy relating to China. Scott Morrison, the 30th Prime Minister of Australia, will speak about targeted (Magnitsky) sanctions to hold officials to account for human rights violations. Liz Truss, the 56th Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, will address growing concerns over PRC unilateral action on Taiwan and the impact on the future of an open and free Indo-Pacific. Guy Verhofstadt, former Prime Minister of Belgium, MEP, and IPAC member will address the EU’s role in maintaining international rules under pressure from China.
IPAC’s international delegation will further be composed of Reinhard Buetikofer MEP, European Parliament Delegate for Relations with China, Sarah Champion MP, Chair UK Parliament International Development Select Committee, and Garnett Genuis MP, Canadian Shadow Minister for International Development.
Guy Verhofstadt MEP, former Prime Minister of Belgium said:
“I am delighted to be joining IPAC in Japan with other former Prime Ministers from across the political map. The scale of the challenge posed by the People’s Republic of China is such that we all need to rise above our differences and come together to defend our fundamental values and interests.”
IPAC Japan Co-Chairs Akihisa Nagashima and Yasue Funayama stated:
“As Co-Chairs of IPAC Japan and the Non-partisan Parliamentary Association for Reconsidering Human Rights Diplomacy, we extend a warm welcome to all participants of the IPAC Symposium.
The continuous suppression of human rights in Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet, Southern Mongolia, Ukraine, Myanmar, Iran, and other countries and regions around the cannot be overlooked. The universal values of human rights, the rule of law, and democracy, which have underpinned the postwar international order, are now facing a serious crisis.
The spirit of Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that “All human beings are born free,” is a value common to all humankind. There should be no division between the West and the East.
This forum is an important opportunity to reconfirm the universality of the values of human rights, the rule of law, and democracy from the free and open Indo-Pacific region linking the East and the West, to guarantee the dignity of people in all countries and regions, and to strengthen the foundation of peace and prosperity in the international community.
Key players from legislatures around the world will gather to exchange views on key themes such as “Sanctions for Human Rights Violations,” “Business and Human Rights”, “Transnational Repression” and “Securing a Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP),” and to communicate measures to further strengthen cooperation through the means of human rights diplomacy.
As the host country, we are confident that the IPAC Tokyo Symposium will serve as a powerful event for parliamentary diplomacy and human rights diplomacy of countries around the world, and reawaken the humanitarian values that lie within people in advance of the upcoming Hiroshima G7 Summit.
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