This is a very special meeting of our Subcommittee on International Human Rights, because this is the first time since the subcommittee was formed that we are going to be honouring and giving recognition to human rights defenders around the world.
As you know, our committee has unanimously selected three individuals to whom we want to give this honour and recognition today.
Two of those individuals are with us in person today. Marguerite Barankitse has done work in Burundi and has come from Rwanda to see us. Teresita Quintos Deles, or Ging, who has come from the Philippines, is also with us today.
We are also honoured to have with us Sara Hossain, who is coming to us by video conference from Bangladesh.
Today is extremely special. I also think it is very fitting that we are honouring human rights defenders who are fighting for freedom, democracy and peace around the world on this 75th anniversary of D-Day, which we celebrated earlier today at the war memorial.
This is fitting, because we know that those people who sacrifice, sometimes for complete strangers, those people who risk their lives and in some cases give their lives because they want to create a more peaceful, just and fair world for their children, sometimes for people in other parts of the world and sometimes for people in their own communities, are people who very often are unsung. They are people who are very often not recognized for their work.
Today, we have two purposes. One is to recognize these three courageous, strong, brave women who have done so much to help the lives of others. Also, it is very important today that we are able to give voice to those women for them to talk about the very things they have been fighting for, in some cases for decades.
This is your chance, your opportunity, to use this venue, the Parliament of Canada, to give voice to the very human rights that you have spent your lives trying to make sure that fellow citizens are able to enjoy.
I will give each of you about 10 minutes. I'm very apologetic. I think we could stay here for hours to listen to you, but unfortunately we are limited in our time.
We will begin with Ms. Sara Hossain who is appearing by video conference.
Sara Hossain is from Bangladesh. She practises constitutional, public interest and family law at the Supreme Court of Bangladesh. She currently serves pro bono as the Honorary Executive Director of the Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust, BLAST, and is a partner at the law firm of Dr. Kamal Hossain and Associates.
Ms. Hossain served as a member of the board of trustees of the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture from 2017 to 2018 and as a commissioner of the International Commission of Jurists. She is on the advisory committee of the Women's Initiatives for Gender Justice and is a member of the human rights committee of the International Law Association and the advisory committee of the Women's International Coalition on Gender Justice.
Ms. Hossain was a recipient of the 2016 International Women of Courage Award, awarded by the United States Secretary of State, and today she is being recognized by the Subcommittee on International Human Rights for her work as a human rights defender.
Go ahead, Ms. Hossain.