Amid Saudi Arabia dispute, Canada says will always defend human rights

FILE PHOTO: Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland gestures during a joint news conference on the closing of the seventh round of NAFTA talks in Mexico City, Mexico, March 5, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido/File Photo

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, referring to a decision by Saudi Arabia to expel Canada’s ambassador, on Monday said her government would always defend human rights.

“Let me be very clear ... Canada will always stand up for human rights in Canada and around the world, and women’s rights are human rights,” Freeland told a conference in Vancouver.

Saudi Arabia acted after Ottawa urged it to free arrested civil society activists, including a prominent female campaigner.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Cynthia Osterman