John Diefenbaker Defender of Human Rights and Freedom Awards

The John Diefenbaker Defender of Human Rights and Freedom Award

The Diefenbaker Award was created in 2010 by then foreign affairs minister Lawrence Cannon to honour individuals or groups who show exceptional courage and leadership in defending human rights and freedom around the world. The award was named in recognition of former prime minister John Diefenbaker, who, during his time in office, championed human rights both in Canada and internationally. His determination to secure rights for all led to the passage of the Canadian Bill of Rights in 1960.

Potential candidates for this award were identified on a worldwide basis by Canada’s global network of diplomatic missions and in consultation with key government partners. Candidates were carefully screened on the basis of their human rights contributions. Short-listed candidates were recommended to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who made the final selection.

This non-monetary award is presented annually as part of Canada’s larger commitment to promoting freedom around the world.

For information on previous awards, please see 2012 John Diefenbaker Award Ceremony and Minister Cannon Presents First Annual John Diefenbaker Defender of Human Rights and Freedom Award.

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2013 John Diefenbaker Award Ceremony

Location: Vancouver, British Columbia

Description: Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, along with Andrew Bennett, Canada’s Ambassador for Religious Freedom, presents the 2013 John Diefenbaker Defender of Human Rights and Freedom Award to His Eminence Cardinal Joseph Zen, Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong.

In honouring Cardinal Zen for his exceptional courage and leadership in defending human rights and freedom, Baird underscored Canada’s duty to champion human rights and to pay tribute to human rights champions.

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