Welcome, colleagues, to meeting number 12 of the Subcommittee on International Human Rights.
For those watching the live proceedings, I'm joined by the following members of the subcommittee: Vice-Chair Kenny Chiu, Vice-Chair Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe, MP Iqra Khalid, MP Heather McPherson, MP Jennifer O'Connell, MP Scott Reid and MP Anita Vandenbeld. I'm also joined by the chair of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, MP Sven Spengemann.
Before I make my opening remarks, to ensure an orderly meeting I'd encourage all participants to mute your microphones when you're not speaking and to address all comments through the chair. When you have 30 seconds left in your speaking time, I will signal you with a paper. Interpretation is available through the globe icon on the bottom of your screen. Please note that screen captures and photos are not permitted.
We're meeting here today to mark a very special occasion: the recognition of three remarkable women who have dedicated their lives to promoting and protecting human rights. Nasrin Sotoudeh is a human rights lawyer from Iran. Loujain al-Hathloul is a women's rights activist in Saudi Arabia. Tamara Adrián is a human rights and LGBTQI activist in Venezuela.
While this marks the second time the subcommittee is recognizing women human rights defenders, it is not a coincidence that this year we chose to hold the event on International Women's Day, a global day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. As the Subcommittee on International Human Rights, we recognize that women human rights defenders specifically face unique challenges. While they fight for the rights of all people, their gender poses an additional risk.
In 2019, the subcommittee tabled a report entitled “Raising her Voice: Confronting the Unique Challenges Facing Women Human Rights Defenders”. In its report, the subcommittee underscored that many women human rights defenders experience a host of human rights challenges, abuses and violations. The obstacles women human rights defenders must overcome are unimaginable to many of us. They face threats and resistance from state institutions, private sector actors and sometimes their own communities and families. Remarkably, many of these women continue to defend the human rights of all, knowing that it will negatively impact their lives. It is undeniable that respect for human rights is owed to the courage of women human rights defenders across the globe.
Throughout the course of the subcommittee's work, members hear from many inspirational people who defend human rights all over the world. Tonight's event is our subcommittee's effort to commend and recognize their outstanding contributions. Selecting only three was a challenging process. The subcommittee unanimously agreed, however, that these three women are a testament to the extraordinary sacrifices that women make in this field.
Without further ado, I have the honour now of presenting the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Honourable Anthony Rota, who will introduce these remarkable women.