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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

Pakistani Christian Asylum Seeker Dies in IDC, Bangkok, Thailand

International Christian Voice (ICV) is very saddened to learn that 36-year-old Pakistani Christian asylum seeker Mr. Ijaz Paras Masih has died in Bangkok, Thailand while in an Immigration Detention Centre. He had been facing serious health concerns for many months and succumbed to his illness on May 26, 2017 due to a lack of medical treatment.

In the IDC, his health deteriorated substantially. His first heart attack occurred last year and he had become paralyzed since. He repeatedly requested Thai officials in the IDC to provide him with the appropriate medical treatment but it was not provided to him, ultimately leading  to  his death. Ijaz Masih is sadly not the first Pakistani Christian who has died inside a detention centre due to the negligence of Thai Authorities and local UNHCR officials. Many other individuals and families continue to suffer from the maltreatment and inhumane conditions inside Thai IDCs.

   Ijaz Paras Masih

 

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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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