Archive: December 2015

Consider your rights regarding disability. You are protected under the ontario human rights code.

Commemorate with the CHR - The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

The Centre for Human Rights is hosting the annual ‘National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women’. This year marks the 26th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, where 14 female students at L’Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal were killed for being women/feminists. Once again, we come together as a community to remember the lives lost to gender based violence. This anniversary has particular significance given the recent death threats against feminist professors and students at the University of Toronto. As such, the focus of the event is violence against women on campus. We will be highlighting the voices of students who are actively working to eradicate campus violence. In keeping with York’s ongoing efforts, this event will provide an opportunity to renew our commitment to ending violence against all women.
We hope that you will join us on Friday, December 4th from 11:30-12:45 in the Senate Chamber (N 940 Ross Building).

For more information, contact: Krista Hunt.

Image of black and white rose with 14 inverted squares distributed around the image representing the 14 victims


Commemorate International Day of Persons with Disabilities - December 3!

Since 1992, December 3rd has been annually commemorated by the United Nations (UN) as International Day of Persons with Disabilities. This Day is celebrated around the world to “promote awareness and mobilize support for critical issues relating to the inclusion of persons with disabilities in society and development” (United Nations, 2008-2015). Every year the UN associates a theme to this Day, and this year’s theme is: “Inclusion Matters: Access and Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.”

To commemorate this event at York University, Critical Disability Studies, SHPM, Faculty of Health and the York Libraries are organizing a Human Library event. This event is meant to be an inclusive and equitable opportunity for one-to-one conversations to occur between students. Undergraduate and graduate York students whom identify as living with invisible and visible disabilities and difference will be books for this event. York students will be able to participate in this event as readers and partake in twenty-minute conversations with these student books.

We hope that you will join us at 11:00am to 3:00pm in the Collaboratory, 2nd floor of the Scott Library.

For more information contact:

December 1 is World AIDS Day!

December 1 has been acknowledged since 1988 as World AIDS Day - an annual day to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS around the world and to commemorate people who have died of AIDS. It is officially recognized by the United Nations as a public health campaign and this year, the theme for World AIDS Day 2015 is ”Getting to Zero”: as in zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.

Some 37 million people around the world live with HIV and approximately 71 300 are Canadian. Indigenous people are especially impacted by HIV/AIDS, and World AIDS Day in Canada also launches the start of Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week.

Every 3 hours a person is infected with HIV in Canada - 12% of those are Aboriginal people, even though they represent only 4% of the Canadian population.

HIV and AIDS remain a large public health issue for Canada and the discrimination, isolation, criminalization, and lack of access to services due to HIV-stigma raises many human rights concerns.

There have been many advances in health care, treatment and prevention but HIV is still a significant health issue for many people, including gay and bisexual men, newcomers to Canada, and young women.

For more information, and to see statistics cited in this article, visit:

York Celebrates International Human Rights Day!

Human Rights Day is observed every year by the international community on December 10th. It commemorates the day on which, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The UDHR was drafted as “a common standard of achievement for all peoples and nations” and was the first universal statement. This was the first dedicated statement that acknowledged all human beings have certain inherent rights that are indisputable at the international level.

The United Nations is devoting Human Rights Day 2015 to the launch of a year-long campaign for the 50th anniversary of the two International Covenants on Human Rights:

  • International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

What are human rights?
Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination. These rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible. Universal human rights are often expressed and guaranteed by law, in the forms of treaties, customary international law, general principles and other sources of international law.

Human Rights …

Are Universal and Inalienable
The principle of universality of human rights is the cornerstone of international human rights law. It is the duty of States to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms, regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems. Human rights are inalienable. They should not be taken away, except in specific situations and according to due process. For example, the right to liberty may be restricted if a person is found guilty of a crime by a court of law.

Are Interdependent and indivisible
All human rights are indivisible, whether they are civil and political rights, such as the right to life, equality before the law and freedom of expression; economic, social and cultural rights, such as the rights to work, social security and education, or collective rights, such as the rights to development and self-determination, are indivisible, interrelated and interdependent. The improvement of one right facilitates advancement of the others. Likewise, the deprivation of one right adversely affects the others.

Are equal and non-discriminatory
Non-discrimination is a cross-cutting principle in international human rights law. The principle applies to everyone in relation to all human rights and freedoms and it prohibits discrimination on the basis of a list of non-exhaustive categories such as sex, race, and colour. The principle of non-discrimination is complemented by the principle of equality, as stated in Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”

Entail Rights and Obligations
Human rights entail both rights and obligations. The obligation to respect means that States must refrain from interfering with or curtailing the enjoyment of human rights. The obligation to protect requires States to protect individuals and groups against human rights abuses. The obligation to fulfil means that States must take positive action to facilitate the enjoyment of basic human rights. At the individual level, while we are entitled to our human rights, we should also respect the human rights of others.

The information above was adapted from: United Nations on Human Rights -
United Nations Human Rights Day -
Library of Congress -