Alberta Human Rights Information Service December 10, 2019

Human Rights Day is December 10

December 10 marks the General Assembly of the United Nations signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights​ (Declaration) in 1948. For the first time in history, the Declaration set out fundamental human rights to be universally protected, and it provided a common standard of achievement for all peoples and nations. This foundational document outlines the many freedoms to which we are all entitled, including that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” The Declaration has inspired the development of other important instruments and institutions for human rights protection, including Alberta’s human rights legislation and the Alberta Human Rights Commission. 

Message from Michael Gottheil

To recognize this important day, you can read the message “’Tis the Season… the Human Rights Season”​ from Michael Gottheil, Chief of the Commission and Tribunals, Alberta Human Rights Commission.

United Nations 2019 Campaign Theme: Youth Standing Up for Human Rights 

For Human Rights Day 2019, the United Nations is celebrating the culmination of a year marked by the 30th anniversary celebrations of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by spotlighting the leadership role that youth play in being effective agents of change. 

Led by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the 2019 campaign "Youth Standing Up for Human Rights" showcases how youth around the world stand up for human rights by condemning racism, hate, bullying, and discrimination. The campaign highlights the important leadership role that youth play in collective movements and how their participation as agents of change serves as a source of inspiration for engaging global audiences and effecting change. 

From the UN Human ​Rights Day website: 

“Why Youth?

 Youth participation is essential to achieve sustainable development for all.
Participation in public life is a fundamental principle of human rights. Young people are seeking to participate in all decisions that have a direct and indirect impact upon their wellbeing. They need to be heard to inform more effective decision-making and achieve sustainable development for all. 

Youth can play a crucial role in positive change.
Young people have always been major drivers of political, economic and social transformation. They are at the forefront of grassroots mobilizations for positive change and bring fresh ideas and solutions for a better world. 

• ​Empowering youth to better know and claim their rights will generate benefits globally.
Young people are often marginalized and encounter difficulties in accessing and enjoying their rights because of their age. Upholding their rights and empowering them to better know and claim them will generate benefits globally.” 

For helpful tools on how to get involved, visit the website. 

Take Action 

In recognition of International Human Rights Day, all Albertans are encouraged to attend local events and take action to uphold the human rights that protect us all in our workplaces, communities, and daily lives. 

Representatives from the Alberta Human Rights Commission attended the following Human Rights Day events: 

“Honouring our Children” Community Round Dance: On December 7, 2019, Commission representatives participated in the annual Community Round Dance hosted by the Calgary Police Service. The Round Dance coincided with International Human Rights Day and provided an opportunity to celebrate relationships forged in the community and to support the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action. Cam Stewart brought greetings from the Commission, speaking about the importance of youth engagement in raising awareness about and advancing human rights issues. He also highlighted that 2019 is the International Year of Indigenous Languages and the significant role language plays in shaping one’s identity, culture, and connection to their community. 

During the ceremony, Siksika Elder Herman Yellow Old Woman honoured Mr. Stewart with a Blackfoot name, Mikotsahpinukum (Red Morning). It was the name of his Blackfoot ancestor, who prayed in the morning as the sun rose to a red sky. His prayers were answered—bringing him success in battle and always returning him home safely to his family. This name was given to Mr. Stewart to bring support for his ongoing reconciliation work and efforts to fight discrimination. 

 Inadmissibility and Deportation of Permanent Residents in Canada: A Human Rights Analysis: On November 28, 2019, Cam Stewart offered opening remarks for the Alberta Civil Liberties Research Centre's annual Human Rights Day event. During this event, Brian Eddy received an award for his contributions to human rights and civil liberty litigation.

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Our vision is a vibrant and inclusive Alberta where the rich diversity of people is celebrated and respected, and where everyone has the opportunity to fully participate in society, free from discrimination.