Welcome to our committee.
As I understand it, the centre for rights and democracy has an international mandate to promote, advocate, and defend democratic and human rights as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. That international declaration is, of course, very close to Canadians because the principal drafter, John Humphrey, was a Canadian. It has become something that we've been very proud of as Canadians, that we have played this role internationally as a promoter and defender of human rights and democracy.
Having served as an election observer, I know that Canadians are well respected around the world. We're proud to represent our country in promoting democracy, but also in promoting human rights, which are certainly not meeting up to the universal declaration in many countries around the world.
I have to say, first of all, that I find it distressing that over time, with government appointments to the board of Rights and Democracy, conflicts, frictions, and some degree of chaos, it seems, have come about under this government. From afar I have to say it looks as though the government's been attempting to control the work of Rights and Democracy as opposed to allowing it to be an advocate and promoter of human rights independent from the government.
What kind of reaction have you had, internationally and domestically, from those who work in the field of human rights and the promotion of democracy to the proposed closure?