Minister Cannon to Speak to UN Human Rights Council and Conference on Disarmament

(No. 86 - February 26, 2011 - 9:25 p.m. ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, will travel to Geneva, Switzerland, on February 28, 2011, to attend the 16th session of the UN Human Rights Council to address the issue of human rights in the Middle East and North Africa and to make an address to the Conference on Disarmament.

"The 16th session of the UN Human Rights Council takes place at a turning point in the history of the Middle East and North Africa,” said Minister Cannon. "The citizens of the region are courageously standing up for their fundamental human rights and freedoms. Canada supports the legitimate demands of citizens throughout the region for a freer, more democratic future."

"In Libya, protesters face cruel repression and appalling abuses by the security forces," the Minister added. "Canada unequivocally supports the demands of the Libyan people for freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law. We continue to call on the Libyan authorities to protect their own people, to stop the violence against peaceful demonstrators and to respect the rights to freedom of expression and assembly."

Minister Cannon’s speech at the Conference on Disarmament will come after the end of Canada’s presidency of the multilateral treaty-negotiating forum, which has been deadlocked in recent years.

"The longer the stalemate in the Conference on Disarmament lasts, the more trust is lost among its members and the harder it becomes to build the spirit of compromise—so necessary if states are to begin negotiations," said Minister Cannon. "Canada will continue to press to get the Conference on Disarmament back to work in 2011, and to commence negotiations on a fissile materials cut-off treaty."

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Lynn Meahan
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
613-995-1851

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874
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