Dec. 8, 2008
FREDERICTON (CNB) - The following statement has been issued by Gordon L. Porter, chair of the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission:
This year, on Dec. 10, we will be marking the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The declaration was adopted by the United Nations on Dec. 10, 1948, and International Human Rights Day is held each year on Dec. 10 to mark this event.
I am proud to say that a New Brunswicker, John Peters Humphrey, wrote the first draft of the declaration. Born in Hampton, he became a professor of law at McGill University, and later became the first director of the human rights division of the United Nations.
To mark the 60th anniversary of the declaration, the commission and the Atlantic Human Rights Centre at St. Thomas University organized a youth forum on Oct. 25. The commission also joined with Canada's other human rights commissions to launch an interactive website for youth. It may be reached through the commission's home page.
Looking back, New Brunswick has much to be proud of in the field of human rights. We were only the second province in Canada to have a human rights commission, created in 1967 as part of former premier Louis J. Robichaud's program for equal opportunity.
But we cannot rest on these achievements. Our human rights provisions need to be kept up-to-date. The commission has already completed a re-engineering of its human rights complaint processes that has resulted in a substantial reduction in the time needed to process complaints. It has published a number of guidelines, and increased its focus on the prevention of discrimination through its educational mandate.
As chair of the Human Rights Commission, I know the importance of human rights in the lives of New Brunswickers. Equality of opportunity, appreciation of diversity, accommodation of differences, and respect for all people are human rights values that we cherish. We will do our utmost to promote and defend these rights."
MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Joubert, Communications New Brunswick, 506-444-3207.