International Human Rights Day, December 10
FREDERICTON (GNB) – The following statement was issued by Nathalie Chiasson, chair of the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission, concerning International Human Rights Day:
On December 10, New Brunswickers and people the world over are invited to celebrate International Human Rights Day. It is the anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations in 1948.
Human Rights Day is an opportunity to think about the progress we have achieved, but also about ongoing attacks. Current affairs remind us that the rights of all human beings are not adequately respected. The events that occurred in France and Belgium, and more recently the remarks about restricting the entry of Muslims by a Republican candidate for the presidency of the United States, are a sad reminder that we must all help our families and friends to understand the importance of human rights.
It is important to avoid coming to simplistic conclusions about such a complex international crisis and to be vigilant when we try to better understand the various issues related to this crisis before stating a position. It is also important not to let fear guide our decisions, but to remember that we live in New Brunswick and Canada, a democratic society where everyone has the same rights, regardless of their origin.
I am also encouraged by the recent announcement by the federal government that it will hold a national inquiry on missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, which strategically reinforces the principle of equality within the federal government and the Canadian society.
In New Brunswick, we should point out the ongoing partnership between the settlement agencies that will welcome Syrian refugees and our provincial representatives during preparatory meetings held recently in Ottawa. In addition, people around the province are taking action and showing compassion and innovation to ensure that the needs of the refugees are met.
These actions can only be lauded as concrete gestures that impel us to take steps to maintain better relations that instill respect, an appreciation of diversity, and a lack of discrimination against those near to us, our neighbours, our community and newcomers.
New Brunswick was a precursor that paved the way as the second province in Canada to establish a Human Rights Commission in 1967. Once again, on the occasion of International Human Rights Day, let us continue to set an example, let us show the Syrian refugee families that we are a caring and welcoming community that advocates the equality of all human beings and promotes inclusion.
Benoît Locas, Education and Engagement, New Brunswick Human Rights Commission, 506-453-2301.