McLaughlin College commemorates International Human Rights Day, Dec. 10

To commemorate International Human Rights Day, Dec. 10, McLaughlin College will present a panel of speakers as part of its popular Lunch Talk Series.

International Human Rights Day commemorates Dec. 10, the day on which, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The UDHR is one of UN’s major achievements as well as the first enunciation of human rights across the world.

The declaration stipulates universal values and a shared standard of achievement for everyone in every country. While the declaration is not a binding document, it inspired more than 60 human rights instruments that today make a common standard of human rights. It is the most translated document around the globe – available in more than 500 languages.

Despite the efforts to protect human rights, the hostility toward human rights and those who defend them continues to rise. As a result, this year’s Human Rights Day advocates for everyone to stand up for their rights and those of others – civil, economic, political and cultural rights. Additionally, the day aims to enlighten us about how our rights are a foundation of sustainable development and peaceful societies. The day also acknowledges the advocates and defenders of human rights around the world.

The event moderator is James C. Simeon, head of McLaughlin College and an associate professor in the School of Public Policy and Administration (SPPA), Faculty of Arts and Professional Studies, York University. He is a member-at-large of the Executive of the Canadian Association for Refugee and Forced Migration Studies (CARFMS) and a past president of CARFMS.

Panelists include:

• Anna Purkey, a senior research associate and the summer course director at the Centre for Refugee Studies at York University. Purkey is a lawyer by training and has a long history of academic and advocacy engagement with issues related to the human rights of refugees and refugee law. Her talk is titled “Legal Empowerment and Human Rights: the Dignity of ‘Others’.”

• Warda Shazadi Meighen, a refugee and immigration lawyer at Waldman & Associates. She is the current chair of the International Justice Circle at Human Rights Watch Canada and an adjunct professor of refugee law at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law. Her talk is titled “Activating Human Rights Instruments: Strategies and Challenges.”

The event runs from 12 to 2 p.m. in 140 McLaughlin College, Senior Commons Room. All are welcome to attend.