“Seventy-five years ago today, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, enshrining our common belief that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. On this Human Rights Day, we reaffirm the spirit of the Declaration as we continue to work toward a safer, more inclusive world.

“Canada will always defend human rights and democracy. Here at home, we continue to take action to uphold the dignity that everyone deserves, including for historically disadvantaged communities. Earlier this year, we released our 2023-2028 Action Plan, a roadmap to help achieve the objectives set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to advance reconciliation in a meaningful, tangible way. We are also working to implement the Federal 2SLGBTQI+ Action Plan, to advance equal rights and protections for 2SLGBTQI+ communities – helping build a more inclusive, prosperous Canada for everyone.

“Housing is essential to people’s dignity and well-being, and that is why we recognized housing as a human right in the National Housing Strategy Act. Since launching the National Housing Strategy in 2017, we have created or repaired over 150,000 housing units to support the housing needs of those most vulnerable. And we have taken further transformative action to close the housing gap. Through the Housing Accelerator Fund, we are unlocking new housing supply, fast-tracking the construction of thousands of homes across the country.

“Beyond our borders, we are working with our international partners to uphold human rights. We continue to pressure human rights abusers through sanctions, including those in Iran and in Russia. As Russia continues its war of aggression against Ukraine, we are supporting Ukrainians in their fight for democracy and justice.

“Through Canada’s 10-Year Commitment to Global Health and Rights, we are providing funding to projects that help advance the human rights of women and girls, including their sexual and reproductive health and rights.

“We also continue to advocate for those most vulnerable in the face of global challenges, such as the current crisis in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. Thousands of families were devastated by Hamas’ terrorist attacks on October 7, and Canada continues to call for the immediate release of all remaining hostages. The humanitarian crisis in Gaza also remains critical. We continue to call for civilians to be protected, for international law to be upheld, and for the sustained, rapid, and unimpeded access to life-saving assistance for civilians, including food, water, fuel, and emergency medical supplies. All life is equal in worth. All people – in Israel, in the West Bank, in Gaza, and around the world – deserve to live in peace, security, and dignity, without fear and with equal human rights.

“Today, as we mark Human Rights Day under the theme ‘Dignity, freedom, and justice for all’, we reflect on the progress we have made and the work still to be done. Together, we can build a more just and fairer world where human rights are protected and respected.”