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Baird Honours Human Rights Defenders 2012 John Diefenbaker Award Ceremony | Cérémonie de remise du prix John Diefenbaker 2012 March 14, 2012 -

Human RightsForeign Affairs Minister John Baird today presented this year’s John Diefenbaker Defender of Human Rights and Freedom Award to the late Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan’s former Federal Minister for Minorities, and Susana Trimarco, Argentinian activist and founder of the Fundación María de los Ángeles. “With this award, Canada honours the memory of Shahbaz Bhatti, whose determined efforts in the struggle for equality, justice and freedom cost him his life,” said Baird. “Braving multiple threats to his safety, Mr. Bhatti worked tirelessly to advance the rights of Pakistan’s religious minorities.” Mr. Peter Bhatti accepted the award on behalf of his late brother. “Canada also hails the courage of Susana Trimarco, who helped to shed light on the world of human trafficking and forced prostitution while searching for her missing daughter,” Baird said. “The foundation she created, Fundación María de los Ángeles, has helped raise awareness of this issue. Through Ms. Trimarco’s unyielding determination, she has helped hundreds of victims escape inhumane conditions.” Canada is among those nations leading the world in combatting human trafficking. “Canada stands with the defenders of human rights for all—people who courageously seek to promote and protect fundamental freedoms around the world. For more information, see Address by Minister Baird at Second Annual John Diefenbaker Defender of Human Rights and Freedom Award Ceremony. 

Exclusive footage of Shahbaz Bhatti\'s interview

SAIRA KHURRAM NEED YOUR HELP 

Saira Khurram went to Thailand in November 2011 with her husband Khurram Ashiq and two children: Mariam Khurram, 6 years old and Musa Khurram, 5 years old, after facing persecution in Pakistan due to their Christianbelief.

Saira Khurram and her husband left everything they owned in Pakistan and applied for refugee status in Thailand. Since their arrival in Thailand they, have faced many problems. Under such dire circumstances, as head of the family, Saira’s husband, Khurram Ashiq, tried his best to support his family but faced many challenges while dealing with the UNHCR and the Thai Government. He suffered from anxiety and depression, which were worsened when his asylum case was refused by the UNHCR. This refusal was very hard on him emotionally and he could not handle the shock, eventually leading to a heart attack that took his life on October 19th, 2017.

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Backgrounder - Diefenbaker Award and Recipients Shahbaz Bhatti

Shahbaz Bhatti was elected to the National Assembly of Pakistan in 2008 and named Federal Minister for Minorities a portfolio he accepted because of the opportunity it offered to defend the oppressed and marginalized of Pakistan.

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