Rachna Singh, Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives, has released the following statement on the 72nd anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly:
“For more than 70 years, countries around the world have come together to recognize the importance of the rights to which we are all entitled as humans, including the right to live free of all forms of discrimination.
“Yet 2020 is a year like no other. COVID-19 has challenged us to re-evaluate our current systems and tackle the inequalities and discrimination that remain in our society. This year, the UN is urging us to put human rights at the heart of our recovery efforts.
“We can’t go back to our old ways. We must do better to support those who have been marginalized, by abandoning outworn and outdated modes of thinking. While we have our differences, they are what makes each one of us unique, yet equal, and deserving of the same human rights.
“We have taken several steps over the last 18 months to advance human rights in British Columbia. In May 2019, our government appointed a new human rights commissioner to promote and protect our human rights through education, research and systemic investigations. This work is supported by the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal, which is responsible for accepting, screening, mediating and adjudicating human-rights complaints.
“B.C. was also the first province in Canada to pass legislation to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We will continue to work alongside Indigenous peoples for a future where their traditions and cultures are properly recognized and respected.
“We know that the work doesn’t end there and we have more to do to address gender equity issues, racial discrimination and all forms of discrimination in our communities. It is only by including everyone – regardless of race, colour, gender, ability or status – that we can make B.C. a province that truly works for all.
“On this day, let us recognize our interconnectedness and shared experiences, to continue our fight for human rights and equality for all B.C. citizens.”