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Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Honourable Senators, I rise today, on Human Rights Day and in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to speak on the right of education for refugee children and youth. The right to education is not a privilege, but a human right, guaranteed under Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as numerous other international instruments. UNHCR reports that wars, conflict and persecution have forced more people than at…
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Sikh Heritage Month

Honourable Senators, I rise today to speak, as critic, to Bill C-376, an Act to designate the month of April as Sikh Heritage Month. At nearly 500,000, Canada is home to the largest Sikh population outside of India. As such, April is proclaimed as Sikh Heritage Month in the provinces of Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. It is believed that Kesur Singh, a Major in the British India Army, was the first Sikh to settle in Canada after arriving in Vancouver with a group of Sikh…
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Asia Bibi

Honourable Senators, I rise today to speak to you about Asia Bibi, a Pakistani woman of Christian faith who has spent the last 8 years of her life on death row, awaiting her fate under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, which date back to the British Raj’s rule over the Indian subcontinent in the 1860s. I am very happy to share that Pakistan’s Supreme Court dismissed all charges against her and has granted her release from prison. The judges who strongly condemned the lower court’s dec…
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Islamic History Month

Honourable Senators, I rise today to commemorate Islamic History Month in the Senate of Canada. Born out of the need to facilitate dialogue and understanding between Muslim and non-Muslim communities, October was officially proclaimed as Islamic History Month by the House of Commons in 2007. During this month, commemorations have taken and will take place across the country. These celebrations highlight the important contributions of Muslim Canadians not only to Canada but to t…
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Aung San Suu Kyi

I rise today in support of Senator Omidvar’s Motion. Honourable Senators, the persecution of the Rohingya population in Myanmar is an issue that I first raised with the Burmese delegation in 2012 and have raised many times in this Chamber since 2013, by way of Statements, Questions and a Motion, which passed in Sept 2017, asking the Government of Canada to call upon the Government of Myanmar: to bring an immediate end to the violence and gross violations of human rights agains…
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International Mother Language Day

Honourable Senators, I rise today to speak to Bill S-247, An Act to establish International Mother Language Day. Bill S-247 is a legislative proposal by Senator Jaffer to designate the twenty-first day of February as “International Mother Language Day”, noting that English and French are the two official languages of Canada as guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. As a multicultural society, Canada recognizes that preserving ones mother language is paramoun…
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An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code

Honourable Senators, I rise today to speak to Bill C-65, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (harassment and violence), the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act and the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1. I am pleased to be the critic on this important Bill, although deeply dismayed that harassment and violence in the workplace has been, and remains, a prevalent issue in Canada. This legislation seeks to prevent incidents of harassment and violence, including…
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Statements & Speeches

Honourable Senators, I rise today to speak about Bill C-45, an Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts. Over the past two years, I have made a point of having conversations with a cross-section of Canadians to ask them their views about legalizing marijuana. I also made a specific effort to speak with the Canadian Pakistani community about this Bill, as I had not heard their voices in the discussion or in me…
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Ramadan 2018

Honourable Senators, I rise today to mark the Holy Month of Ramadan which is being observed by Muslims across Canada and around the world. Muslims observe Ramadan as a commemoration of the revelation of the Quran from God to our beloved Prophet, Muhammad (peace be upon him) and this month constitutes one of the five fundamental pillars of the Islamic Faith. During this month, Muslims abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset, all while continuing their daily lives, qui…
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Passing of Asma Jahangir

Honourable Senators, I rise today to pay tribute to Asma Jahangir, who passed away on the 11th of February. Asma Jahangir was a world renowned Pakistani human rights lawyer, activist and author, whom I have often referred to as the conscience of Pakistan. Asma dedicated her life to promoting and defending human rights, in particular the rights of women, children and religious minorities in Pakistan. She was a pro-democracy activist and founding member of the Human Rights Commis…
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