National Interests and International Consensus: The Case for a Human Rights Approach to Canadian Foreign Policy
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The inclusion of human rights in Canadian foreign policy is typically rationalized as corresponding to the fundamental Canadian value of respect for human rights; however, Canada’s limited appeals to human rights, couched in the rhetoric of values, altruism, and morality, have not produced a substantive policy that adequately considers or sufficiently protects human rights. Although human rights are generally considered subordinate to security, economic, and other national interests, this thesis will argue that these are mutually inclusive concepts that serve to support each other. By examining Canadian engagement in Afghanistan through the theoretical perspective of the English School solidarists, this thesis contends that Canada national interest can be realized through a commitment to a human rights foreign policy, thereby providing concrete justification for the inclusion of human rights in Canadian foreign policy. The objective of such an approach is to improve Canada’s ability to protect and promote international human rights, leaving little doubt in the minds of Canadian foreign policy-makers that there is undeniable value in a human rights foreign policy and that such a policy will produce national interest ends.