The Relationship Between Levels of FDI and Human Rights

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By Christine Bissonnette

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Human rights atrocities are always of importance when studying a state; whether they provide policies to deter such actions or if they themselves commit such atrocities. We know of many states worldwide which commit such atrocities along many scales and against political and civil rights and social, economic and cultural rights. With the world’s economy becoming ever more interconnected it is interesting to look at if countries are deterred from investing in other countries due to their actions in not protecting human rights, as well as breaking human rights. Therefore, this paper will look at the relationship between direct foreign investment and breaches in human rights. Specifically, this research paper will ask does the level of human rights violations in a country deter the level of direct foreign investment by industrialized countries? Many industrialized countries, such as Canada and the United States, base their foreign policy on the idea that investing in a country with poor human rights records is not viable. Nonetheless, for example, it is common knowledge that Prime Minister Harper has been visiting China in order to open up the Chinese economy to Canada. China has been known as a country which has broken human rights in many areas including the suppression of rights in Tibet. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights even spoke out against China, urging the Chinese government to address the human rights issues in Tibet. Nonetheless, Canada is still interested in investing in the Chinese economy without even discussing the suppression of human rights by the Chinese government. This paper will show that levels of human rights breaches does not deter industrialized countries from investing in such countries.