(No. 391 – December 10, 2010 – 7:45 p.m. ET)
The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement marking Human Rights Day and the 62nd anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
“Today, Canada marks Human Rights Day and reaffirms Canada’s commitment to upholding the fundamental human rights of all human beings, at home and around the world.
“Canada has been a relentless advocate of human rights in all corners of the world. Time and again, Canada has expressed its deep concerns about the deplorable human rights situation in Iran. Canada continues to take the lead in bringing forward UN resolutions on Iran, which send a strong message to Iranian authorities that the international community will never abandon the Iranian people in their quest for human rights. We continue to call on Iran to provide fair and due process for all its citizens, including Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani and Saeed Malekpour, as well as the many others in Iranian prisons for their religious, political or social beliefs.
“Canada continues to raise the unacceptable human rights situation in North Korea. Its people suffer under oppressive conditions, including forced labour, extrajudicial executions, collective punishment, torture, and indefinite detention of political prisoners in prison camps.
“Canada supports the Government of Afghanistan and Afghan civil society organizations in their efforts to promote and protect human rights, especially those of women and children. Canada consistently raises human rights issues such as freedom of expression and women’s rights with the Government of Afghanistan.
“To use Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s words, ‘We have a solemn duty to defend the vulnerable, to challenge the aggressor, to protect and promote human rights, human dignity, at home and abroad’.”
For further information, media representatives may contact:
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada