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Since 1948, December 10th has been proclaimed International Human Rights Day, marking the day the United Nations passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

This December 10th, 61 years after passage of that historic declaration, people around the world will mark Human Rights Day by focusing this year on non-discrimination, taking to heart the preamble of the declaration:

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”

Many of us dream of a world where this in fact true, here at home and around the world. Sadly, both here and beyond our borders this is all too often not the case. In Canada, poverty, racism and other forms of discrimination prevent many people from being full participants in our communities. Around the world, war, famine, pollution and oppression prevent millions from realizing their full potential.

Let us never, sisters and brothers, waver in our resolve to stand up for our own rights, but also  for the fundamental human rights and dignity of every woman and man, both here at home and abroad.

As December approaches, we hope all of you will reaffirm your belief in the basic rights of all people, and take time to commemorate this important day.