2008 marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Declaration signified the first universal recognition for the fundamental rights and freedoms of all, and it remains a powerful, living document today. It has inspired the development of many human rights instruments, which together have established an international standard of human rights.
Canada has been a consistently strong voice for the protection of human rights and the advancement of democratic values. We believe that people everywhere have a right to be treated according to the international standards of human rights and we work around the world to promote that goal.
Canada recognizes the enormous progress that human rights and democracy have made in Taiwan, as symbolized by its vigorously-contested elections, free press, respect for the rule of law and comprehensive provision of social services to its people. This remarkable progress is a credit to the people of Taiwan, its leaders and its institutions and we are proud to be able to jointly hold with Taiwan a festival that celebrates the achievements of human rights in both Canada and Taiwan. Of course, human rights is a journey not a destination and we must continuously strive to strengthen the rights of all our residents.
The Canada-Taiwan Human Rights Film Festival is an excellent opportunity to consider the issue of human rights on a global level and ask ourselves what more we can do to assist those whose basic rights are still not respected. At the same time, it is an excellent opportunity to enjoy the work of some of Canada and Taiwan's finest filmmakers as they seek to take difficult topics like human rights and use their creative genius to produce films that both entertain and inform, that engage our minds and transport us to faraway places.
I am very pleased at the depth of support we have received from our partners in Taiwan. This is a clear demonstration of the importance that Taiwan's government and civil society attach to human rights. I am very hopeful that our festival will reach a broad cross-section of Taiwanese people in Taipei, Hsinchu and Kaohsiung and that our audience will be enriched and engaged by the themes and will be inspired to push for human rights to become truly universal.
Executive Director, Canadian Trade Office in Taipei