Posted: Wednesday, 8 December 2010
Nearly 500 trade union activists, human rights advocates and allies are gathered in Ottawa, Canada today to commemorate International Human Rights Day at the CLC Rise UP! For Your Rights national conference.
Universal dignity and access to justice for everyone is not a luxury, nor a wish list. The UN Declaration dedicates 30 articles to non-discrimination, equality, fairness and universality. These are principles that apply to everyone, everywhere and always.
Union members know how important this is and the commitment it takes to stand up for our fundamental rights in the workplace and the community. We also know how quickly these rights can be denied us.
That is why so many activists have came together today at the CLC Rise UP! For our Rights conference.
We have all endured a chipping away at our hard-won gains in human rights for too long.
Governments have dismantled employment and pay equity policies and programs. Civil society groups that promote justice peace and democracy have faced savage funding cuts. We have seen democratic boards of governance taken over and re-structured. State institutions which once guaranteed human rights have been gutted.
First Nations peoples contend with the negative impacts of tar sands development on their traditional territories, food, and ability to exercise their treaty rights.
Asylum-seekers fleeing persecution arrive on what used to welcoming shores but now face indefinite detention.
No longer do women's organizations have access to federal funds for research, advocacy, and lobbying. The long anticipated pan-Canadian childcare framework has been destroyed.
Over two million Canadian adults with disabilities lack support they need to participate fully in their communities.
Gay men, lesbians, bi-sexual and transgendered people were written out of Canada's citizenship guide until the government was forced to retract their deliberate omission.
Canadian citizens and residents particularly those who are racialized or Muslim are too often marooned abroad subject to renditions, wrongful arrest and torture, or are categorized as security risks rather than neighbours and co-workers.
The list of attacks is long and growing. The UN Declaration stands for something greater. The Canadian Labour Congress is determined to Rise UP! to return human rights to their rightful place in Canadian society.
On December 10, nearly 500 union members will be sharing their actions to Rise Up! for our collective rights. Check out Facebook or Twitter to see what is coming. Don’t hesitate—join us.