Statement from Minister Paradis: World Day of Social Justice

February 20, 2014

It is on occasions such as the World Day of Social Justice that we appreciate the irrevocable freedoms and liberties we enjoy here in Canada. But it is also important to recognize that not all are so fortunate. That is why Canada and Canadians work around the globe to support poverty eradication through the promotion of full employment and decent work, gender equity, and access to social well-being and justice for all.

Our development programs are based on the strongly Canadian values of freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. With these tools in place, people in developing countries are more able to participate in the public decisions that affect their lives. The ability of women and men to engage in decision-making only becomes possible when the rights and livelihoods of even the most vulnerable members of society are protected. The absence of such rights makes rising out of poverty almost impossible.

Canada aims to increase freedom around the world by strengthening democratic institutions and practices such as electoral and legislative systems. We also help to strengthen national protection frameworks that safeguard the human rights of children and youth, particularly girls, who are at increased risk of violence, exploitation and abuse.

Promoting and protecting the human rights of girls and women is a critical factor for achieving sustainable development results. Women are often the backbone of the rural economy, where they often work as smallholder farmers or entrepreneurs with their own businesses. A vibrant private sector, including these small businesses, creates jobs and the opportunities that lead to better education and health and prosperity for the people of developing countries.

I want to take this opportunity, on World Day of Social Justice, to reiterate Canada's commitment to reducing poverty and delivering tangible results for those most in need, so that they can look forward to a future where they can not only survive, but thrive, secure in the rights that make this possible.

Christian Paradis
Minister of International Development and Minister for La Francophonie