Canada Marks Human Rights Day

(No. 365 - December 9, 2011 - 11:30 a.m. ET) Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement on the occasion of Human Rights Day:

“2011 was a landmark year for human rights, we saw hundreds of thousands of people step forward in the face of violent repression to claim their rights.

“Unfortunately, we live in a world where basic human rights are not always upheld. Innocent people are continually persecuted for their sexual orientation, their political affiliation and their religious beliefs. Human rights defenders are punished and tortured for working to create a world where the rights of all people, including women and girls, are protected and enjoyed.

“We are too often witness to violations of the right to freedom of religion. The history of humanity has proven that religious freedom and democratic freedom are inseparable. One of Canada’s key priorities, therefore, is to establish an Office of Religious Freedom. We announced our intention to do so in the Speech from the Throne on June 3, 2011, and I repeated that commitment at the United Nations General Assembly on September 26, 2011.

“Canada will continue to work tirelessly to promote human rights around the world. On December 10 we both mark this important day and recommit ourselves to working toward freedom, democracy and human rights for all people.”

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