In recognition of Human Rights Day 2014

I also rise on behalf of the Liberal caucus to pay tribute to International Human Rights Day. As mentioned, the theme this year is “Human Rights 365,” encompassing the idea that Human Rights Day should be every day and not just once a year. The day marks the anniversary of theUniversal Declaration of Human Rights, signed on December 10, 1949. The day was proclaimed to bring attention to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, setting the standard for what human rights should be in all countries. Unfortunately, globally, the fight for basic human rights still has a long way to go.

As United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today in his statements this morning — and I quote: “Violations of human rights are more than personal tragedies. They are alarm bells that may warn of a much bigger crisis.” The removal of basic human rights is all too often the warning alarms of a much more endemic problem in a nation. Once basic freedoms are removed, violations can spiral from despotism to massacres to even genocide. Here in Canada, we are fortunate enough that our human rights are entrenched in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Today we must reaffirm our commitment to continue the fight for basic human rights 365 days a year.