Canada Highlights Continuing Women’s Rights Battles as It Marks Human Rights Day

December 10, 2012 - The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women, today issued the following statement marking Human Rights Day:

“On Human Rights Day, the final day of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, we acknowledge this cornerstone of democracy and stand side by side with women around the world.

“Around the world, women and girls continue to experience discrimination as a result of harmful cultural practices and unjust laws. Too often, women and girls are subject to early or forced marriage, are targeted by violence simply for being who they are and are prohibited from going to school, having a job or holding public office. Whatever form this discrimination takes, Canada will continue to speak out against it and work with others to effect real change in the lives of women and girls.

“As the Minister for Status of Women, I have made it a priority to advocate for women and girls in Canada and around the world who continue to face violence and discrimination in their daily lives. On behalf of Canada, I led the international community in the establishment of the Day of the Girl. The message of this day is simple: girls’ rights are human rights; the sooner in life girls know their rights, the greater the chance they will be able to exercise them and become leaders.

“Our government is committed to advocating the participation of women at all levels of society, especially as old regimes fall and new governments emerge in countries striving for progress, freedom and dignity. That is why Canada has provided almost $14 million in support toward ending sexual violence and encouraging the full participation of women in emerging democracies.

“The Canadian government will intensify its diplomacy and development work to end early and forced marriage in every corner of the world. We take pride in spearheading the establishment of the Day of the Girl and are committed to ending violence against women and girls. Where the human rights of women are fully respected and women play a vital role in government and civil society, we see more prosperous and pluralistic states. On Human Rights Day, let us redouble our efforts to ensure that the active participation of women and girls in all aspects of society becomes a reality in our lifetime.”

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Amber Irwin
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Public Works and Government Services
and Minister for Status of Women