Human Rights A Focus on Playgrounds and in Workplaces

first_imgPeople of all ages, colours, religions and abilities must be welcome on Nova Scotia’s playgrounds and in its workplaces if the province is to prosper in an ever-more competitive world, Nova Scotians were told today, Dec. 8. Students from across the province joined guest speakers to encourage diversity and equality as hundreds of people gathered in Dartmouth for a celebration in honour of International Human Rights Day. Saturday, Dec. 10, marks the 57th anniversary of the day that the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. “Race, colour, money, clothesNone of this should matter, this I know.I am like you, you are like meHuman race yearning for harmony,” wrote Carol-Ann Vassallo, a student at MacLellan Junior High School in Westmount, Cape Breton Co., in a winning poetry entry for the event. “…I could be the next Picasso.I could win gold at the Olympics, you never knowDon’t treat me differently when I should be treated the sameDon’t call me by my race, call me by my name…” Carol-Ann was one of many students who crafted poems, stories, and posters using the theme Everyone Has the Right to Play: Breaking Down Barriers Through Fun, Play & Sports. Organized by Partners Against Racism (PAR) — a coalition of concerned organizations dedicated to promoting and protecting human rights in partnership with the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission — the day’s program was designed to focus attention on issues of respect and inclusion, particularly in sports. Winning poems, stories, and posters will be used at all PAR events for the coming year and the posters and poems will be published on bookmarks that will be made available to students throughout the province. Mayann Francis, CEO and director of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, told people gathered in Dartmouth that it is important that all Nova Scotians reflect on ways they can help ensure that everyone is treated with dignity and respect. At a noontime address to the Halifax Chamber of Commerce sponsored by Convergys Customer Management, Ms. Francis repeated the message to a different audience, telling business leaders that diversity also makes good business sense. She said businesses may attract and retain audiences or clients they didn’t even know they were missing simply by ensuring that they embrace diversity in their operations. “Promoting diversity and inclusion is not about disadvantaging one group at the expense of another,” she said. “Understanding and embracing diversity means delving much deeper and being prepared to examine the way our society works at the most fundamental level.” In an address that the chamber billed as her first “annual address to the business community,” she announced that the chamber and the commission will create a new business award for excellence in diversity, which will be presented for the first time in December 2006. “I know in my heart that we have the potential to be the number one province in terms of growth, in terms of the well-being of our people,” Ms. Francis told the chamber. “And I know that paying attention to human rights and diversity issues can also help us to achieve that.”last_img read more

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