Justice and Public Safety
March 18, 2016

The following is being issued at the request of the Human Rights Commission of Newfoundland and Labrador:

Human Rights Commission Recognizes International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

The Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission is observing the 2016 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on Monday, March 21. On that day in 1960, 69 people were killed as they participated in a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, against the apartheid �pass laws.�

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. 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.

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. Multiculturalism week, which celebrates diversity in Newfoundland and Labrador, is also celebrated in the province from March 20 to 26.

�As we remember the difficult origins of this memorial day on March 21, let us continue to be vigilant against racism in all its forms. No one should face discrimination because of their origins or their skin colour.�
- Remzi Cej, Chair of the Human Rights Commission of Newfoundland and Labrador

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

�The best way to counter and prevent racism is to speak out loudly and clearly against it. As residents celebrate multiculturalism throughout the province over the next week, they will also express support for a society free of racism.�
- Mr. Cej

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 members 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 wellbeing, and communities.

Some of the activities planned as part of Multiculturalism Week include:

  • All schools in the province are being encouraged to participate in a multicultural art project that depicts their vision of multiculturalism throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. Schools can post a photograph of the project and their classmates to the Department of Advanced Education and Skills Twitter account @AES_GovNL using the hashtag #MCWNL.
  • The Association for New Canadians is organizing a Resettlement Experience poster series. Designs will include a portrait-style image of a recent immigrant accompanied by an explanation of their resettlement experience. Participants can post their design on Twitter using the hashtag #WelcomeHomeNL.
  • Sharing Our Cultures will take place March 20-23 at The Rooms, 9 Bonaventure Avenue, St. John�s. The public is encouraged to attend the opening ceremonies on March 20 at 1:00 p.m. Sharing Our Cultures promotes the values of multiculturalism and intercultural relations. This year�s theme is �Arts Around the World.�

The Human Rights Commission will also be participating in various events related to Sharing our Cultures from March 20 to 22 and information can be found at www.sharingcultures.com .

For more information on the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission, please visit www.thinkhumanrights.ca and follow us on twitter @nlhumanrights.

- 30 -

Media contact:

Remzi Cej
Human Rights Commission of Newfoundland and Labrador

2016 03 18                              2:00 p.m.