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NEWS RELEASE
For immediate release
 

40th anniversary of the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms
The Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse has honoured 40 individuals committed to the daily struggle for the advancement of human rights.

Montréal, December 10, 2015 — To mark the 40th anniversary of the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse will honour 40 individuals committed to the daily struggle for the advancement of human rights. The 40th anniversary of the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms Award was presented at a ceremony in Montréal, as part of the International Human Rights Day. Jury Chair Louise Arbour and Immigration, Diversity and Inclusiveness Minister Kathleen Weil also attended the event.

On the picture : The 40 recipients, the members of the jury with the president and vice-présidents of the Commission: Jacques Frémont, Renée Dupuis and Camil Picard, as well as all the members of the Commission and minister Kathleen Weil.

Created to mark the unanimous adoption of the Charter by the Québec National Assembly in 1975, the 40th anniversary of the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms Award recognizes the exceptional contribution of 40 women and men who, through their work, their volunteering or their social engagement, defend and promote human rights and youth rights. The 40 winners stand out for the diversity of their fields and actions, their many achievements and their outstanding commitment over time.

“We wish to congratulate the 40 award winners. We are proud to pay tribute to these people who, every day, take action to protect the principles set out in the Charter,” said Jacques Frémont, president of the Commission. “Above and beyond their work defending fundamental human rights, the winners strive to defend and promote the right to equality as well as economic, social and legal rights, which are protected under the Charter.”

During the ceremony’s closing remarks, Minister Weil mentioned that some people have gone through a long fight to become part of Québec society: "You are role models because of your courage, determination and resilience", said Ms. Weil.

The work and contribution of the 40 human rights activists selected by an independent jury are featured on a special website based on the theme “Une Charte, mille combats” (One Charter, a Thousand Struggles): 40ansdelacharte.org This link will redirect you to an external Website in a new window.. These 40 individuals were chosen among more than 100 of their peers following a call for nominations across Québec. Louise Arbour, former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and a leading figure in international law, chaired the jury. The other jury members included: First Nations rapper Samian, Dr. Gilles Julien, founder of several social pediatrics clinics, Carla Beauvais, a community organizer for Black History Month, and Ian Hamilton, Executive Director of Equitas – International Centre for Human Rights Education, which won the Commission’s 2014 Rights and Freedoms Award.

“I encourage everyone to discover the engaging stories behind these 40 winners and see for themselves that you don’t have to be a lawyer or a scholar to know and defend your rights. We hope everyone will join us to celebrate the Charter’s 40th anniversary,” said Mr. Frémont.

International Human Rights Day

Established by the United Nations in 1950, International Human Rights Day is held every year on December 10. This year, the UN is launching of a year-long campaign to mark the 50th anniversary of the two International Covenants on Human Rights: the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 16, 1966.

Since 1988, the Commission has marked this day by celebrating the commitment and the exemplary contribution of individuals or groups working to defend human rights and liberties in Québec. To discover the stories behind the 40 winners, please visit 40ansdelacharte.org This link will redirect you to an external Website in a new window..

Award recipients – 40th anniversary of the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms

  • Catherine Audrain, former executive director, La Traversée (Saint-Lambert)
  • Rivka Augenfeld, co-founder, Table de concertation des organismes au service des personnes réfugiées et immigrantes (Montréal)
  • Pierre Blain, executive director, Regroupement provincial des comités des usagers (Montréal)
  • Haroun Bouazzi, co-president, Association des Musulmans et des Arabes pour la Laïcité au Québec (Montréal)
  • Louise Brissette, a single woman who adopted over 40 children and adults with disabilities (St-Anselme-de-Bellechasse)
  • Lise Brouard, mental health human rights activist (Saint-Hyacinthe)
  • Denise Brouillard, coordinator, Droits et Recours Laurentides (Saint-Jérôme)
  • Claudette Carbonneau, former president, Confédération des syndicats nationaux-CSN (Montréal)
  • Édith Cloutier, executive director, Val d’Or Native Friendship Centre
  • Marc-Antoine Cloutier, lawyer and co-founder, clinique sociojuridique Juripop (Saint-Constant)
  • Claude Cousineau, lawyer specializing in the defense of people on social assistance (McMasterville)
  • André Davignon, volunteer president and CEO, Observatory on Aging and Society (Montréal)
  • Michelle Dawson, autistic, self-taught autism researcher affiliated with Pervasive development disorder centre for excellence (Université de Montréal)
  • Michel De Césaré, compliance officer, Canadian Human Rights Commission, and board chair, Kéroul (Montréal)
  • Lorraine Doucet, clinical advisor, teacher and expert on the integration of children with disabilities in schools (Montréal)
  • Sylvain Fortin, founding president, Société québécoise de la Trisomie-21  Organisme national (Deux-Montagnes)
  • Sylvie Fortin, nurse and researcher, CHU Sainte-Justine (Montréal)
  • Linda Gauthier, activist and president, Regroupement des activistes pour l'inclusion au Québec (Montréal)
  • Mona Greenbaum, co-founder and executive director, LGBT Family Coalition (Montréal)
  • Minnie Grey, executive director, Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services (Kuujjuaq)
  • Julius Grey, lawyer specializing in human rights (Montréal)
  • Ensaf Haidar, wife of Raif Badawi who is currently in prison in Saudi Arabia (Sherbrooke)
  • Élaine Hémond, co-founder, Groupe Femmes, Politique et Démocratie (Québec)
  • Patricia Jean, executive director, Arc-en-ciel d'Afrique (Montréal)
  • Micheline Labelle, associate professor, Université du Québec à Montréal, and founder, Observatoire sur le racisme et les discriminations (Montréal)
  • Véronique Laflamme, community organizer, Front d’action populaire en réaménagement urbain (Montréal)
  • Widia Larivière, youth coordinator, Quebec Native Women and co-founder of Idle No More-Québec (Montréal)
  • Mélanie Lemay, student and board member of the Centre d'aide et de lutte contre les agressions à caractère sexuel-Estrie (Sherbrooke)
  • Raoul Lincourt, co-founder and volunteer, Centre de services de justice réparatrice (Mascouche)
  • Matamba Harusha Henry Mbatika, project manager, Fédération des communautés culturelles de l'Estrie (Sherbrooke)
  • Melissa Mollen Dupuis, community worker and co-founder of Idle No More-Québec (Montréal)
  • Menka Nagrani, founder and manager, Les Productions des pieds des mains (Montréal)
  • Robert Pilon, past president, Groupe de Recherche et d'Intervention Sociale - GRIS (Montréal)
  • Michèle Rivet, first president of the Human Rights Tribunal (Montréal)
  • Tamara Thermitus, lawyer, federal Ministry of Justice (Montréal)
  • Marie-Thérèse Toutant, speaker and caregiver on mental health issues (Ste-Julie)
  • Béatrice Vaugrante, executive director, Amnistie Internationale-section Canada francophone (Montréal)
  • Lucille Veilleux, funding and partnership development coordinator, Wapikoni (Montréal)
  • Raymond Viger, manager, Le Journal de la rue (Montréal)
  • Nadine Vollant, social services coordinator, Uashat mak Mani-Utenam (Sept-Îles)

The Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (Human Rights and Youth Commission) ensures the promotion and respect of the principles set out in the Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. It also ensures that the interests of children are protected and that their rights recognized in the Youth Protection Act are respected and promoted. In addition, the Commission oversees compliance with the Act respecting Equal Access to Employment in Public Bodies.

Contact:
Jean-Francois Gagnon
514 873-5146 or 1 800 361-6477, extension 358
40ansdelacharte@cdpdj.qc.ca

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