On December 10th we reflect on human rights in Canada and around the world. The day commemorates the UN’s 1948 adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Despite a 64 year global consensus on human rights, today the federal government’s actions threaten some of the rights enshrined not only in the UN declaration but also in Canada’s human rights law:
- legislation that would limit unions’ ability to bargain, organize workers and would put an onerous, unparalleled financial reporting burden on them
- punishment and retribution for public service workers who speak up on issues of public interest
- attacks on public service workers’ sick leave
- criminal law changes reduce civil liberties in the name of national securiy.
- Inaction on women’s security and violence against women.
- No inquiry on murdered Aboriginal women
- No support for Bill C-279 that would make gender identity a prohibited ground for discrimination in the Canadian Human Rights Act and make violence against trans people a hate crime.
- Ignoring the needs of Aboriginal communities: safe drinking water; education; reducing incarceration rates; adequate housing; and reducing the unconscionable level of poverty.
- Closed regional Veterans Affairs offices.
- Denied basic health care and a fair process to some refugee claimants.
The Ferguson event is a reminder of on-going racial inequalities in both the U.S. and in Canada. Racial profiling and discrimination in the criminal justice system is a pressing issue for racialized communities.
Mobilize: Unions are a powerful force. Join and support organizations – including human rights, women’s and equity committees in your workplace – that work to protect human rights.
Represent: Ensure that collective agreements conform to human rights laws and jurisprudence. Support your bargaining teams.
Educate: Learn more about groups who are still struggling to achieve equality and equity.
Speak out: Write to the newspapers and the politicians about human rights issues that matter to you.