Baird Marks Human Rights Day

December 10, 2012 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird issued the following statement on the occasion of Human Rights Day:

“On this day, we recommit ourselves to working toward the promotion of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law around the world.

“The promotion and protection of human rights is a cornerstone of our principled foreign policy. Canadians can be proud of the values we hold and promote around the world.

“We have proudly encouraged the role of women and girls in emerging democracies and we stand with those, such as Malala Yousafzai, who have fought for fundamental freedoms and human rights.

“Sadly, in North Korea, an estimated 200,000 political prisoners remain in concentration camps where the regime forcibly prevents its own people from finding a better life.

“In Iran, egregious human rights violations are a daily occurrence. Iran’s persecution of religious minorities, including Bahá’ís and Christians, is deeply troubling. Canada will continue to take a leadership role at the United Nations in condemning the human rights situation in Iran.

“On this day, we are reminded of those who promote greater freedoms for all, such as Joseph Zen Ze-kiun of Hong Kong.

“It is our common duty to defend the vulnerable, to challenge the aggressor, and to protect and promote human rights and human dignity abroad.

“Under the leadership of Prime Minister Harper, Canada will continue to be a principled voice in the world.”

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