Human Rights Day

December 10 is Human Rights Day

PSAC: committed to human rights

December 10 is Human Rights Day – an opportunity to reflect on the status of human rights in Canada and around the world.

In 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in recognition of civil, social, economic and political rights, later enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In Canada, we have made a lot of progress, but still have a distance to go. Over the past decade, the Conservative government chipped away at Canadians’ human rights. Advocates, Aboriginal communities, refugee and immigration groups, unions and other community organizations worked together and successfully ensured that the federal Conservatives did not get re-elected.

The new government can reverse the damage to human rights by:

  • Restoring the ability of public service workers to speak freely.

  • Reinstating funding for advocacy groups promoting and defending human rights.

  • Amending laws violating constitutional rights, civil liberties or that enforce racial profiling.

  • Protecting migrant workers from abuse by employers and ensuring access to permanent residency and citizenship.

  • Instituting a national action plan on violence against women.

  • Expedite the national inquiry on murdered Aboriginal women.

  • Addressing the basic fundamental needs of Aboriginal communities and correcting the many injustices endured.

  • Implementing the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

  • Amending the Canadian Human Rights Act to protect gender identity as a prohibited ground of discrimination.

  • Reversing the negative changes that the Conservatives made to federal pay equity.

  • Implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and removing barriers that prevent full participation communities and workplaces

  • Providing refugees with health benefits and expediting refugee claims

  • Strengthening employment equity laws and policies.

How can you support human rights?

  • Mobilize: get involved in activities organized by your union or other organizations that work to protect human rights.

  • Represent: support your bargaining teams as they work to ensure that collective agreements conform to human rights.

  • Educate: learn about groups struggling to achieve equality and equity and find out how you can help.

  • Speak out: write to newspapers and politicians about human rights issues.
December 10, 2015