Justice and Public Safety
March 20, 2015

The following is being distributed at the request of the Human Rights Commission:

Recognizing International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

The Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission is observing the 2015 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination tomorrow, (Saturday, March 21). On that day in 1960, police killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, against the apartheid "pass laws." When the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed this day in 1966, it called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination.

"The scenes of that March day in 1960 shocked the conscience of people around the world, leading to the United Nations proclamation of the day as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Governments around the world have taken measures to eliminate and prevent racial discrimination in their communities, and March 21 is observed in communities across Canada as a day to think about the road ahead in the struggle to eliminate racism. As we focus on our province, we must make continuous efforts to challenge racism and prejudice in the province in order to create an inclusive, vibrant, diverse society for everyone in Newfoundland and Labrador," said Remzi Cej, Chair of the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission.

The Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Act protects individuals in the province from discrimination on the prohibited grounds of race, social, and ethnic origin. Even today, the Human Rights Commission continues to receive complaints on the basis of discrimination on these grounds.

"The Bantu term 'ubuntu', often referenced by Nelson Mandela to promote kindness between people, summarizes well why businesses, community organizations, labour groups, and different levels of government must work to prevent racism. Our collective well-being is dependent on our individual well-being and vice versa," said Mr. Cej. "When one society member is marginalized because of their racial, social, or ethnic origin, it is as if all of us are."

Employers, community organizations, labour groups, and governments can take positive measures to prevent discrimination by making their members and staff aware and respectful of racial and cultural diversity through diversity workshops offered by community organizations. In addition, staff of the Human Rights Commission are available to speak about human rights protections in the province and the importance of non-discrimination for businesses, employee well-being, and communities.

The Human Rights Commission will be participating in various events related to Sharing our Cultures from March 22-24. This year's theme is Sharing Our Games and information on the various events can be found at www.sharingourcultures.com .

For more information on the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission, please visit: www.thinkhumanrights.ca

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Media contact:

Carey Majid, LLB
Executive Director

2015 03 20                              9:50 a.m.