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Canada Promotes Freedom, Dignity and Security Agenda at United Nations

September 23, 2013 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, along with the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and Minister for La Francophonie, the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State (Foreign Affairs and Consular), and Deepak Obhrai, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and for International Human Rights, will be in New York City from September 23 to 30, 2013, to attend a series of high-level discussions on a wide range of global issues during the 68th United Nations General Assembly. Prime Minister Stephen Harper will also be in New York City from September 24 to 26, 2013, to co-host a United Nations event that will focus on the major health challenges facing women and children around the world and to participate in a moderated discussion on the economy, hosted by the Canadian American Business Council.

“At a time of economic uncertainty, rapid social change and a volatile global environment in which certain regimes are threatening international peace and security and violating the rights of their own citizens, Canada has a vital global role to play in the defence of freedom, dignity and opportunity,” said Baird. “At this year’s General Assembly, Canada will work with its partners to encourage the United Nations to be more accountable, transparent and responsive to the challenges of a changing world.”

During his visit, Baird will meet with key international partners to discuss the most pressing security challenges, including the Syrian crisis and the need to call international attention to the egregious state of human rights in Iran.

“Canada is committed to delivering real results for those in need through effective and accountable partnerships,” said Minister Paradis. “We will continue to work with developing countries as they look to grow their economies, become more self-sufficient and create global prosperity.”

While in New York City, Minister Paradis will meet with his international counterparts and non-governmental partners to discuss Canada’s development priorities, such as increasing food security, promoting international labour standards and supporting sustainable private sector-led economic growth as a means to break the cycle of poverty.

Minister of State Yelich will join the Canadian delegation and attend several high-level meetings, some of which will discuss supporting and creating more economic opportunities for women around the world.

“Canada supports women’s economic empowerment by focusing on initiatives that increase women’s economic opportunities, strengthens their economic leadership and advances the rights of women worldwide,” said Minister of State Yelich.

Also in New York, Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Human Rights Deepak Obhrai will attend several important meetings discussing counter-terrorism.

“Terrorism remains the great struggle of our generation,” said Obhrai. “Canada has shown great leadership in working with our allies to combat this scourge, and I look forward to continuing that work.”

Baird concluded by saying, “In a complex and changing world, Canadians have much to be proud of. Our strong team will continue to show principled leadership and strengthen Canada’s voice on the international stage.”

A backgrounder follows.

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Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird

On September 24 and 25, Baird will attend events on preventing sexual violence in conflict and will host an event on combatting early forced marriage. Baird will also use this opportunity to meet with Commonwealth members on September 26 and 27.

Baird will work to strengthen bilateral relations with a number of countries in meetings with his counterparts.

He will conclude the visit by delivering Canada’s address to the United Nations General Assembly on September 30.

International Development Minister Christian Paradis

On September 23, Minister Paradis will attend the ministerial meeting of La Francophonie and the annual meeting of the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement, of which Canada is a leader. He will also speak at an event hosted by President Barack Obama on the protection of civil society. On September 24, Minister Paradis will address the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, hosted by former U.S. president Bill Clinton, on child protection. On September 25, Minister Paradis will attend a number of events and meetings regarding Canada’s leadership in helping developing countries meet the Millennium Development Goals.

Minister of State Lynne Yelich

On September 23, Minister of State Yelich will participate in the launch of the Knowledge Gateway for Women’s Economic Empowerment, a new online platform that will support women’s economic opportunities and leadership and further women’s contributions to local economies. Minister of State Yelich will also participate, on behalf of Minister Paradis, in a high-level meeting on the Millennium Development Goals and other international development goals for people with disabilities. On September 26, Minister of State Yelich will address the High-Level Meeting of the General Assembly on Nuclear Disarmament.

Parliamentary Secretary Deepak Obhrai

On September 27, Parliamentary Secretary Deepak Obhrai will represent Canada at the Global Counterterrorism Forum, co-hosted by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Turkey’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmet Davutoğlu, where he will highlight Canada’s leadership in the Sahel. He will also stress Canada’s support for political stability in Somalia at a meeting of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development on September 26. On September 27th Mr. Obhrai will deliver remarks at a to discussion on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty where he will re-confirm Canada’s continued support of nuclear non-proliferation and commitment to the process of global nuclear disarmament. He will call upon states who have not yet ratified the treaty to progress towards ratification while refraining from any future test in the meantime.

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