Justice and Public Safety
December 10, 2015

The following is being distributed on behalf of the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission:

Human Rights Award Recipient for 2015 Announced

During a ceremony today at Government House in St. John's, the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission presented its inaugural Human Rights Award to Sister Margie Taylor.

The 2015 Human Rights Award recognizes an individual who has made and/or continues to make a meaningful contribution to advancing and furthering human rights in the province. December 10 was chosen as the date of presentation because it is also International Human Rights Day.

Sister Margie Taylor, a member of Sisters of Mercy, truly embodies the qualities of a human rights advocate. She has worked with female prison inmates in Clarenville through Stella Burry Community Services; has assisted former inmates in re-integrating into society by assisting them in finding housing and employment; has reached out to newcomers, including refugees and immigrants to provide them with furniture, clothing, and other necessities; is an active member of the Newfoundland and Labrador Coalition Against Human Trafficking; and is also a member of the Mercy International Association where she helps raise public awareness of human trafficking as a modern form of slavery.

Sister Taylor has organized performances of a play by a group of actors from Northern Ireland on human trafficking with the aim to promote education and inspire action to prevent the trafficking of children, men, and women.

“The motivation for the Human Rights Award was to recognize human rights pioneers and leaders who have worked tirelessly to promote and build the human rights agenda in Newfoundland and Labrador. These exemplary individuals live in our communities and rarely take credit for the amazing work they do in assisting individuals to live with dignity and rights. They are modest and humble, but also courageous and outspoken in standing up for the rights of those who are deprived of their voices. They give shelter to people in need, challenge our laws when they are behind the times, propose new policies, but also hold our society’s institutions and leaders to account.”
- Remzi Cej, Chair of the Human Rights Commission

Also at today’s ceremony, Calvin White was named a Human Rights Champion. This recognition is granted to someone who has made a meaningful, lifelong contribution to human rights in Newfoundland and Labrador, and the recipient is generally chosen by members of the Selection Committee. Mr. White has advocated for the rights of Mi’kmaq people of this province since the 1960s and has made a lifelong commitment to social justice causes. He is a recipient of the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Honourable Frank Fagan, Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador, will present Mr. White with the Champion Certificate at an event in 2016 which will be announced at a later date.

From this point forward, the Human Rights Award will be presented annually after a call for nominations is made in the fall of each year. The Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission thanks all those who nominated individuals for the 2015 award. The quality of the nominees meant that choosing this year’s recipient was a very difficult, yet rewarding task.

- 30 -

Media contact:
Carey Majid, LLB
Executive Director
Human Rights Commission of Newfoundland and Labrador
709-729-2709, 800-563-5808

2015 12 10                             3:55 p.m.