On December 10, 1948, the General Assembly of the United Nations officially adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
This Declaration – one of the greatest documents of modern history – was the world’s response to the atrocities and horrors of the Holocaust. It is an historic document which recognizes that every human being deserves equal moral consideration; that every person is a member of the human family; and that human rights are universal — to be enjoyed by all people, no matter who they are, what they believe, or where they live.
The UDHR was a breakthrough. A document grounded in respect and responsibility, it chartered a bold new course for humanity. It laid the foundation for the Rights Revolution (which witnessed human rights move to the forefront of national and international consciousness) and presented a clear, moral vision for a harmonious society.
It is a vision as relevant today as it was in 1948.
It is a vision the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission works diligently to uphold.
We live in changing, challenging times. Misuse of the Internet has led to mass waves of misinformation and the proliferation of hate speech. Around the world, democracies are crumbling. In Saskatchewan, events of the past year have exposed deep social divisions caused by racism, discrimination, and other inequities.
It is the job of the Commission, and of every citizen in Saskatchewan, to help bridge this divide. To build a shared sense of community, to engage in honest debate, to respect one another, and to have courageous conversations about the problems afflicting our society.
Ours is a shared humanity, rooted in the values of equality, justice, and dignity. Whenever these values are attacked or abandoned, society suffers. People suffer. That is why we need to stand up not only for our rights, but for the rights of others. We must embrace the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. And we must work together to protect the dignity and promote the inclusion of every member of the human family.