Rights City celebrates Montreal’s role in advancing human rights worldwide
Organizations unite to highlight the city’s unique history on May 26 and 27
Montreal, May 11, 2017 – Concordia University’s Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS), Amnesty International Canada, the United Committee of Armenian Organizations of Quebec and the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, are joining forces to organize Rights City/Montréal, ville des droits humains, a major event on May 26 and 27 to celebrate Montreal’s role in advancing human rights.
As one of the oldest and most inclusive cities in North America, Montreal has a long history of encouraging diversity, protecting human rights and offering shelter to people fleeing persecution, including thousands of Vietnamese “boat people” escaping the communist regime in 1979 and 1980. Montreal has welcomed victims of war and oppression, such as Armenians, Jews, Ukrainians, Haitians, Rwandans and, more recently, Syrians.
The city has been at the forefront of the fight for LGBTQ rights and the annual Fierté Montreal Pride celebration is the largest LGBTQ gathering in the francophone world.
Rights City/Montréal, ville des droits humains consists of three core activities: a conference at Concordia University on May 26, the annual March for Humanity and Genocide Prevention on the afternoon of May 27, and that evening, Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award ceremony where co-recipients Alicia Keys and the Indigenous rights movement in Canada will be honoured.
“With the rise of extremism and authoritarianism, Canada and Montreal are positioned, like no other time in their history, to play leadership roles in protecting human rights and cementing their shared status as leaders on the international scene. The Rights City initiative is the beginning of our shared global ambition to lead the world in respecting and protecting human rights.” says Roméo Dallaire, distinguished senior fellow at the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS) at Concordia
For Béatrice Vaugrante, director of Amnesty International Canada, working together to highlighting the urgency of protecting human rights against current threats is imperative. “We have to put a stop to the politics of demonization which is creating a divided and dangerous world. The rhetoric of fear, blame and hate erodes the vision of an open society based on equality. But together we can turn the tide.”
“Recent history is full of instances of atrocities that have started with human rights abuses and culminated in mass persecutions, ethnic cleansing and genocides,” adds Mheir Karakachian coordinator of the United Committee of Armenian Organizations of Quebec. “Unfortunately, history keeps repeating itself right in front of our eyes today. This is why we have joined forces to take a stand and send a resounding message against genocides – never again!”
Irwin Cotler of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights says: “Rights City takes place amidst an escalating series of threats – resurgent authoritarianism, culture of impunity, criminalization of dissent, and illiberal populism – and most disturbingly, democracy and democracies in retreat. The time has come to sound the alarm and mobilize a global constituency of conscience.”
Rights City/Montréal, ville des droits humains program highlights:
Rights City/ Montreal, Ville des droits humains conference
May 26, 12 to 5:30 p.m
Sir George Williams University Alumni Auditorium
Room H-110, Henry F. Hall Building,
1455 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W., Montreal
Annual March for Humanity and Genocide Prevention
May 27, 12:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Starts at Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace,
2075 Bishop St.
Ends at Place du Canada,
Corner of Peel St. and René-Lévesque Boul. West
Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award ceremony
May 27, 7:30 p.m.
305 Saint-Catherine St. W., Montreal
Visit the Rights City/Montréal, ville des droits humains website for complete event and ticketing information.
Organizers are available for media interviews.
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Tel.: 514-848-2424 ext. 2518