John Diefenbaker Defender of Human Rights and Freedom Awards

2014 John Diefenbaker Award

On December 1, 2014, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird presented the John Diefenbaker Defender of Human Rights and Freedom Award to William Hague, the U.K.'s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict and former U.K. foreign secretary, for his work on the prevention of sexual violence in conflict.

"With this award, Canada pays tribute to Mr. Hague's unwavering commitment to the empowerment and well-being of women and girls around the world—a commitment that Canada is proud to share," said Baird.

For more information, please consult Baird Presents William Hague with Diefenbaker Award for Efforts to End Sexual Violence in Conflict. This was the final event of the 2014 John Diefenbaker Award, following presentations on the theme of child, early and forced marriage and on protecting Internet freedom.

On November 25, 2014, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird presented Carl Bildt, former prime minister and foreign minister of Sweden, with the John Diefenbaker Defender of Human Rights and Freedom Award, on the occasion of the Global Commission for Internet Governance meeting in Ottawa. For more information, please see Diefenbaker Award Given to Carl Bildt for Work on Internet Freedom.

On November 18, 2014, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird presented the 2014 John Diefenbaker Defender of Human Rights and Freedom Award to Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage during a ceremony in Ottawa. For more information, please consult Baird Honours Girls Not Brides, Partners in Ending Child, Early and Forced Marriage.

Previous Awards

2013 - Retired Cardinal Joseph Zen, SDB, Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong (China). For more information, please see 2013 John Diefenbaker Defender of Human Rights and Freedom Awards.

2012 – Shahbaz Bhatti (in memoriam), former federal minister for minorities (Pakistan) & Susana Trimarco, activist and founder of the Fundacion Maria de los Angeles (Argentina). For more information, please see 2012 John Diefenbaker Defender of Human Rights and Freedom Awards.

2011 – Asma Jahangir (Pakistan) and the Citizens’ Alliance for North Korean Human Rights (South Korea). For more information, please see 2011 John Diefenbaker Defender of Human Rights and Freedom Awards.

Background

The John Diefenbaker Defender of Human Rights and Freedom Award, presented annually by the Minister of Foreign Affairs on behalf of the Government of Canada, recognizes individuals or groups who show exceptional courage and leadership in defending human rights and freedom internationally.

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

The Diefenbaker Award was created in 2010 by then foreign affairs minister Lawrence Cannon. 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.

Nominees are identified by Canada’s global network of diplomatic missions and through consultations with key government partners. Candidates are considered on the basis of their human rights contributions, and shortlisted candidates are recommended to the Minister of Foreign Affairs who makes the final selection.

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