Toronto – December 8, 2014 – Each year, on December 10, Human Rights Day is observed around the world, in recognition of the United Nations General Assembly adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948. In Canada, the day is marked with raised awareness of human rights issues both home and abroad.
According to the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, proclaimed in 1993, "Human rights and fundamental freedoms are the birthright of all human beings; their protection and promotion is the first responsibility of the government." In Canada, there are far too many examples of governments failing to respect this responsibility: from the ultra-conservative attack on labour rights; to stripping refugees of access to health care; to discriminating against First Nations children by underfunding their schools; to dismantling the social safety net and promoting an economy that has grown the numbers of the
ultra-wealthy, as well as the numbers of children and families now living in poverty.
Human Rights abuses are also documented in the newly opened Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg. UFCW Canada supports all social justice initiatives that shed light on injustices that mark Canadian history, and along with Local Unions, endorse the museum. UFCW Canada has also contributed to the museum gallery. In addition, UFCW Canada works with EGALE Canada Human Rights Trust, and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada as our national partners in initiatives supporting the LGBTQ community, and First Nations children.
UFCW Canada, as Canada’s union for working families, knows that an attack on one group of Canadians is an attack on all Canadians. We must learn from our history as a means to prevent future attacks on working families in the generations to come. In electing political candidates who demonstrate democratic values, and support campaigns for working families that stand up to the conservative agenda, we uphold that labour rights are human rights, as protected by the Declaration.
December 10– Human Rights Day, is an opportunity to renew our commitment and energy to actualize the basic foundation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”
Paul R. Meinema