January 14, 2015 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement regarding the punishment of 1,000 lashes and a 10-year prison sentence for a Saudi blogger:
“Canada is deeply concerned by the public flogging of Raif Badawi. This punishment is a violation of human dignity and freedom of expression, and we call for clemency in this case.
“The promotion and protection of human rights is an integral part of Canada’s foreign policy. While Mr. Badawi is not a Canadian citizen, we will continue to make our position known, both publicly and through diplomatic channels.
“Canada has an active partnership and candid relationship with Saudi Arabia, and believes it can play a positive role in many of the region’s security challenges. We will maintain an ongoing, respectful dialogue with Saudi Arabia on a number of issues, including human rights.”
Canada has made representations to Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador in Ottawa, and Canada’s Ambassador in Riyadh has met with the Chair of the Human Rights Commission and has sought a meeting with the Government of Saudi Arabia. Minister Baird has also discussed this issue with concerned parties, including Christine St-Pierre, Quebec’s Minister of International Relations.
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