Human Rights Day 2015 highlights fundamental rights and freedoms
NDP Justice Critic Gerry Rogers (MHA, St. John’s Centre) says on December 10 we can celebrate what we have accomplished in the field of human rights – and then prepare to continue work on the areas we need to improve. "Our Human Rights legislation must continue to evolve," said Rogers.
December 10 is International Human Rights Day, commemorating the date that the United Nations General Assembly adopted the International Declaration of Human Rights. The theme for 2015 is “Our Rights. Our Freedoms. Always.”
In the past few years, Rogers has been one of the strongest voices calling for the recognition of human rights of transgender individuals in the province. Her persistent representation in the House of Assembly led to changes in the Human Rights Act.
“Today I want to congratulate Remzi Cej and everyone at the Human Rights Commission for the tireless work they do,” Rogers said. “And I celebrate the work of human rights activists across the province, particularly those trans activists who worked so hard to push government to change the Vital Statistics Act so trans people can amend their birth certificates. This was a basic issue of dignity and safety."
Rogers notes, though, that in a year when the United Nations recognizes the rights and freedoms (freedom of speech and of worship, freedom from want and from fear) which are core to all human rights legislation and covenants, we still must pay attention to the struggles people are facing in our own back yard.
“Seniors are continuing to slip into poverty, and we are gripped in a continuing housing crisis,” she said. “People do not all have access to things the UN deems fundamental to life, such as adequate housing and freedom from poverty.”
“There is no better date than Human Rights Day to commit to continuing the fight to ensure that everyone in our province has the basics of life.”