Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister, John Baird, on Tuesday presented the 2014 John Diefenbaker Defender of Human Rights and Freedom Award to Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage during a ceremony in Ottawa. This is the first of three awards that will be presented over the coming weeks.
“Girls-Not-Brides is working tirelessly to bring hope to millions of girls and young women around the world by putting an end to child, early and forced marriage,” said Baird. “Canada is proud to partner with them and honour them for their work on this noble cause.”
During the ceremony, Baird, on behalf of the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, announced that Canada will contribute $10 million to Canadian and international civil society organizations as part of an ongoing global effort to end this practice.
“Canada will continue to lead in these efforts and uphold the principles that John Diefenbaker stood for and that remain the pillars of Canadian values today,” added Baird. “Together, we will continue to stand for freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.”
“Ending child, early and forced marriage leads to brighter futures for girls and women,” added Minister Paradis. “It empowers women and girls to reach their full potential and in turn to more fully contribute to the well-being of their families and the prosperity of their communities.”
Receiving the award on behalf of the organization is Her Royal Highness Princess Mabel van Oranje, Chair of the Board of Trustees for Girls Not Brides, as well as two tireless activists from the Girls Not Brides network, Dr. Ashok Dyalchand, Director, Institute of Health Management-Pachod (India), and Amina Hanga, Executive Secretary, Isa Wali Empowerment Initiative (Nigeria).