International Human Rights Day commemorates the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.

The Declaration describes the inalienable rights to which every human being is entitled to regardless of religion, colour, race, sex, language, national or social origin, political or other opinion, property, birth or status. As the most translated document in the world, it remains as relevant today as the day it was adopted 71 years ago

Commemorating and reflecting on the principles of the Declaration gives us the opportunity to celebrate the rights that we exercise and enjoy as Canadian citizens. It also means acknowledging that each of us, as members of the human family, have a responsibility to promote and protect those rights.

This year, the theme for International Human Rights Day is: “Youth Standing Up for Human Rights.”

In 2016, the Commission, along with the Concentus Citizenship Education Foundation, and the Saskatchewan Educational Leadership Unit asked the youth of Saskatoon to stand up for the first-ever Courageous Conversation forum.

The focusing question for the forum was, “What responsibility do you, others, and your organization play in building a stronger, inclusive Saskatchewan?”

This is what they had to say:

Since the Courageous Conversation forum was held, the Commission has ardently supported K to 12 citizenship education (https://saskatchewanhumanrights.ca/learn/citizenship-education) in schools throughout Saskatchewan as a means to promote citizenship, protect human rights, and foster youth engagement.

The Commission also works diligently to empower students by creating a culture of youth engagement.

Just last week, more than 400 students attended the Commission-sponsored screenings of the documentary nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up .

Directed by Tasha Hubbard, nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up focuses on the August 2016, shooting death of a young Cree man named Colten Boushie. It weaves a profound narrative encompassing the filmmaker’s own adoption, the stark history of colonialism on the Prairies, and a vision of a future where Indigenous children can live safely on their homelands.

After each screening students listened to a panel discussion, moderated by Betty Ann Adam, featuring the filmmaker, Debbie Baptiste, Eleanore Sunchild, and Sheldon Wuttunee

The panel encouraged students to stand up against discrimination, to respect each other, and to amplify the call for harmony.

Today, on International Human Rights Day, as members of “One Human Family,” it is a message for each of us to heed and embrace.