To mark the importance of International Human Rights Day, The Toronto United for Human Rights and Youth for Human Rights held a celebration at the Ontario Science Centre last week.
The main goal of the two organizations is to increase public awareness about the 30 fundamental rights covered under the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), of which Canada is a signatory.
Speakers for the event, held on December 5, included President of the Asian Canadian Educators’ Network, Padmini Padiachy; former MP of Don Valley East, Yasmin Ratansi; Founder of the Canadian Youth Project, William Grant and legal activist, Justin Waugh.
“We must do a better job focusing on our future – our youth,” said Grant. “On a provincial, national and global level, youth face sex trafficking, child labour and infringement of their legal rights by authority figures and gatekeepers. This discrimination against youth and enslavement must be the focus of our human rights initiatives.”
At the gathering, Grant announced his new “Year of the Youth 2013” initiative which will be aimed at empowering youth.
The event featured high energy performances from Brenda Webb, George Matz, Bryan Toner, Max Webb, Liberty McKague, Jennifer Noble, Tyson Froese and Maccie Paquette.
“Performers and prominent community leaders contributed to enlighten the audience with their own perspective on human rights and made this event meaningful and inspiring,” said Nicole Crellin, Coordinator for the United for Human Rights Toronto Chapter and organizer of the Human Rights Day celebration. “Canada has committed itself to secure these 30 rights and we have a responsibility to ensure the government does so.”
Special awards were presented to the publisher of El Popular, Eduardo Urueña, for his long time support of human rights awareness and to the Living Rights Team, headed by producer Jyotsna Venkatesh and directed by Maccie Paquette.
The newly-formed project launched in Toronto involves interactive music, video and website resources to teach human rights.
The Living Rights team is comprised of undergraduate Ryerson University students in the school’s Radio and Television Arts program who were inspired by the Youth for Human Rights organization that teaches the 30 rights that people have under the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The mission of the Living Rights team is to create an educational tool that will start a worldwide dialogue among youth about human rights.
During the event, Vinita Dhanju was announced as the new Youth for Human Rights Toronto coordinator.