Media Room » 2005 » Coalition of Cities Against Racism

Human rights commissions to champion Canadian Coalition of Cities Against Racism - July 7, 2005

Saskatoon (July 7, 2005) – Human rights commissions attending the meeting of the Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies (CASHRA), in Saskatoon June 12-15, 2005, agreed to provide support in principle for the work of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO (CCU) calling for the establishment of a Canadian Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism. Commissions supporting the initiative include: the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission, the Manitoba Human Rights Commission, the Ontario Human Rights Commission, the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission, the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission, the North West Territories Human Rights Commission, the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, Prince Edward Island Human Rights Commission, Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse du Quebec, the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission and the Yukon Human Rights Commission. Commissions agreed to promote the initiative within their own jurisdictions in keeping with their own priorities and resources.

The proposal to establish a Canadian Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism is based on the UNESCO (United Nations Economic, Social and Cultural Organization) plan for an International Coalition of Cities Against Racism. Launched in 2004, its goal is to establish a network of regional coalitions around the world committed to fighting racism.

The Preliminary Proposal for the Canadian Coalition calls on municipalities to adopt 10 common commitments for combating racism in their communities in the areas of community development, employment, policing, housing, culture, and education, among others. In the next year, the CCU and partner organizations will consult with municipalities, asking for their feedback and to consider joining the Canadian Coalition. Once a final proposal has been developed, municipalities will be invited to sign a declaration adopting the common commitments and would then develop their own local plans to fight racism.

Commenting on the initiative, Donna Scott, President of CASHRA and Chief Commissioner of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission, stated that, “Statutory human rights agencies in Canada have a mandated role to prevent and combat racism and discrimination. This coalition provides the opportunity to strengthen the work that is already occurring in our own jurisdictions with the work of others across the country.”

Scott commended the City of Saskatoon on its recent decision to join the coalition. She noted that Saskatoon already has a number of policies and programs in place, and understands the City is very pleased to have the opportunity to work with UNESCO. She recognizes that this partnership will allow the City of Saskatoon to draw from a worldwide network of contacts and initiatives that will help strengthen its own action plan.

The Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies (CASHRA) is a forum for federal, provincial and territorial human rights agencies which have as some of their functions the administration and enforcement of anti-discrimination laws.

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Contact:

Donna Scott, Q.C.
Chief Commissioner
Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission
President, Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies
Tel: (306) 933-7796

or

Monica Goulet
Cultural Diversity & Race Relations Coordinator
City of Saskatoon
Tel: 306 975-7826

or

Jim Balfour
Member, Cultural Diversity & Race Relations Committee
City of Saskatoon
Tel: 964-1118

or Human Rights Agencies listed in release