Standing up for human rights and those who defend them

Statement

December 10, 2016 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of International Trade, and the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, today issued the following statement marking Human Rights Day:

“The Government of Canada raises, promotes and defends human rights in every international relationship and at every opportunity that presents itself. As a respected member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth, La Francophonie and other international bodies, we help to strengthen and maintain international respect for human rights. This includes our work supporting human rights defenders, engaging with international partners and civil society, helping the LGBTI [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transexual and intersexed] community, working to end the death penalty and torture, advancing the rights of persons with disabilities, and promoting and defending the rights of girls and women.

“We have made important progress this year. We expanded and reinvigorated our comprehensive approach to defending and promoting all human rights through the creation of the Office of Human Rights, Freedoms and Inclusion.

“We tabled legislation to protect the legal rights of transgender people across the country and began steps for accession to the UN Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

“We announced our intention to adhere to the UN Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and we have been elected to the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women. Furthermore, we announced Canada’s full support of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and our intention to adopt and implement the declaration in accordance with the Canadian constitution. 

“We also changed the way Canada engages abroad. Human rights, freedoms and inclusion are now among the fundamental objectives of all Canadian heads of mission, and we seek clemency for all Canadians facing execution abroad.

“Canada has also become a more active and vocal supporter of the brave defenders who speak up about human rights violations and abuses and who work to hold the powerful accountable for their actions.

“Most recently, Canada introduced guidelines on supporting human rights defenders, a practical tool for Canada’s diplomatic officials to help empower human rights defenders to be more effective advocates and help protect them from the threats they all too often face.

“Today, we highlight and pay tribute to human rights defenders all over the world, who work tirelessly to promote and protect the rights of their fellow human beings, often at great personal risk.”

Associated links

Contacts

Chantal Gagnon
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
343-203-1851
chantal.gagnon@international.gc.ca

Alex Lawrence
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Trade
alex.lawrence@international.gc.ca

Bernard Boutin
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Development and La Francophonie
343-203-5977
bernard.boutin@international.gc.ca

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
343-203-7700
media@international.gc.ca
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