Two people and two organizations are being recognized for their work promoting human rights in the province with the 2012 Human Rights Award. The Human Rights Commission is presenting the awards Monday, Dec. 10, at the International Human Rights Day Event at Millwood High School in Halifax Regional Municipality. The theme is, Voice It! Change It! The award categories are individual, organization and youth. People submitted nominations to the commission and the winners were chosen by the commissioners. The winners in the individual category are Jake MacDonald of Wolfville and Christine Porter of Sydney. The Avalon Sexual Assault Centre in Halifax is the recipient in the organization category and receiving the youth award is No Glory Productions, a group of students from Yarmouth Consolidated Memorial High School. “It is because of the tireless and committed work of the award recipients that all of us have a better life,” saidHammonds Plains-Upper Sackville MLA Mat Whynott, on behalf of Ross Landry, Minister responsible for the Human Rights Commission. “Their desire to talk about improving lives and then turning those words into actions is an inspiring example of voicing it, and then changing it.” Mr. MacDonald, a survivor of a brain injury, is the past president of the Annapolis Valley Chapter of the Brain Injury Association in Nova Scotia from 1999 to 2011. He was chosen for his work to educate the public and health-care professionals about brain injury prevention with initiatives such as Operation Headway, Noggin Knowledge and In-Roads. Christine Porter is the executive director, AIDS Coalition of Cape Breton/Sharp Advice Needle Exchange. She is being recognized for her commitment and dedication to injection drug users, people living with mental illness and addiction. She educates health professionals and health institutions about the needs of people living in these hard circumstances. For 29 years, the Avalon Sexual Assault Centre has offered support, education, counselling and advocacy for women who have experienced sexual violence. The centre also provides education programs raising awareness of sexual abuse, social injustice such as sexism as well as developing community resources. “The Avalon Sexual Assault Centre has fought for women’s rights for over 30 years,” said executive director Irene Smith. “Though women’s rights are guaranteed in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, women still face barriers to justice. We are honoured to receive this award and it encourages us to continue our efforts.” No Glory Productions, who with the support of a teacher, and student support worker, created a video on racism. It is a powerful, courageous and honest message of marginalization. “Protecting and promoting human rights is a passion I share with the recipients,” said David Shannon, CEO and executive director of the Human Rights Commission. “Having their dedication and insight as part of the cause makes it very rewarding.” International Human Rights Day celebrates the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations on Dec. 10, 1948. It is credited with shaping human rights around the world. A Canadian, John Humphrey, drafted the original document. For more information go to www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/ .
Lieutenant General Crishanthe De Silva recalled his organization’s close working partnership that has been on with the delegation for years and acknowledged its support gratefully, particularly during the times of the conflict before May 2009. The new Head of the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) in Sri Lanka Ms Claire Meypraud had talks with army commander Lieutenant General Crishanthe De Silva today.Meypraud paid a courtesy call on the Commander of the Army at the Army Headquarters today. Towards the end of the courtesy meeting, exchange of mementos took place as tokens of close cooperation and understanding. Ms Meypraud, accompanied by her Deputy Head of the ICRC delegation, Irfan Sulejmani during her meeting with the Commander of the Army, was enthusiastic in receiving an update on the roles and tasks of the Army versus its interaction with the ICRC and Red Cross in Sri Lanka with special focus on the north and east.