Human Rights Day reminds us to work together to reduce inequalities and advance respect for human rights.
OTTAWA, ON, Dec. 10, 2021 /CNW/ – In Canada and around the world, we must work together to eliminate inequalities and advance respect for human rights. While we have made real progress over the years, we must do more to address the challenges people face across the country.
On this day in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to recognize and protect fundamental human rights for everyone, everywhere. This year’s theme is Equality – Reducing inequalities, advancing human rights.
This year, as we mark the 50th anniversary of Canada’s multiculturalism policy, we must strengthen our commitment to be bolder, stronger and steadfast in our fight against racism, discrimination, prejudice and hate.
Important work has been done over the years to protect and uphold human rights at home. The Court Challenges Program, reinstated by our government in 2017, has helped protect Canadians’ language rights and human rights by financially supporting challenges to laws and policies that might violate those rights. This program is a cornerstone of the Government of Canada’s commitment to a diverse, fair and inclusive Canada that respects human rights and works to reduce inequalities.
Considerable efforts are being made to strengthen exchanges between civil society and Indigenous organizations on issues related to Canada’s implementation of international human rights, as outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the seven international human rights treaties to which Canada is a party. We are grateful for the expertise of these organizations and their efforts to encourage us to do better.
As we strive to finish the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, we recognize that vulnerable populations worldwide have been affected disproportionally and continue to suffer. Through this recovery, we need to continue to ensure human rights are respected and that vulnerable people and communities at risk remain at the heart of our policies and actions. We must not leave anyone behind.
Earlier this year, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act came into force. This act will serve as a roadmap for the implementation of the Declaration and for advancing reconciliation in a tangible way. As the next step, we are launching a consultation and cooperation process with First Nations, Inuit and Métis people to continue the critical work of implementing the Act. Together, in partnership with Indigenous peoples, we will develop concrete measures to promote and uphold Indigenous rights and shape renewed relationships based on the affirmation of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership.
Next year, we will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Charter has helped build a country where people, as equals, can work together to create opportunities. The spirit and substance of the Charter are at the heart of Canada’s progress and should inspire us all as we work toward creating a more just and compassionate society.
Protecting and advancing human rights at home and around the world is our shared duty. Together, there is still much work to be done.
Let’s stand up for one another, speak up for the ones whose voices are not heard, promote equality and always uphold respect for human rights. Together, we can shape a country and a world we will all be proud to pass on to future generations.
SOURCE Canadian Heritage