CASHRA - The Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies

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Yukon Human Rights Commission

Yukon Commission Celebrates International Human Rights Day and the UN Day of Disabled Persons with Film Launch

Mallory
Mallory and her parents at her graduation
from Yukon College in the spring of 2012.

On December 7th, 2012, the Commission partnered with other community organizations to launch its video on the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, "Mallory's Story: Aren't You Supposed to be Doing Something?" You can watch this video on the Commission's website at www.yhrc.yk.ca. or on www.vimeo.com.

Mallory Pigage is a 22 year old woman with an intellectual disability. She is a self-advocate who is very actively involved in the disability rights community. The video shows the benefits of an inclusive post-secondary educational institution and how it led to greater independence for Ms. Pigage in her community. It also contrasts this experience with her high school one where she was in a segregated class. The Commission is especially pleased that seven people with disabilities were involved in the making of this film. Funding from the Yukon Law Foundation made this film possible. The Yukon's Minister of Health and Social Services, Doug Graham, as well as Rick Goodfellow, former Commissioner and disability rights activist and Director of Challenge, are also both featured in the film.

International Treaty and Declaration Work

In addition to its CRPD work, the Yukon Commission focussed education efforts this year on both the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Canadian Coalition of Municipalities against Racism and Discrimination, in support of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international conventions that Canada has signed on behalf of all Canadians.

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Article
Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in First Nation (TGFN) citizen
Roy Johnson welcoming people to the circle at Moosehide
Gathering in August 2012 where all the articles of the
UN's Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples were
read by 47 citizens and visitors to the people
attending the Gathering.

On August 3, 2012 the Commission's Director attended the Traditional Gathering at Moosehide on the Yukon River. A highlight of the day was a large circle of over 47 Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in citizens including Elders and youth, visiting Alaskan relatives, visitors [tourists] from Europe and Asia, and local people from Dawson City interested in the Declaration. Each of the Articles was read out in turn and copies of the Amnesty International Declaration Booklets were available. The circle was introduced by a Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in citizen, Roy Johnson. The event was broadcast on the local radio and conceived and organized by Roy Johnson with the help of Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in Heritage Director, Jackie Olson. The Commission hopes to work with Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in again for more education for Yukoners on the Declaration during our March 21st public events.

Canadian Coalition of Municipalities against Racism and Discrimination

Article
The picture above was taken in Whitehorse on
March 21, 2012 as citizens celebrate Deputy Mayor Ranj Pillai
signing onto CCMARD on behalf of the City – the first City north
of 60 to join the coalition!

The Commission continued to work with local NGO's during the fall of 2012 Whitehorse civic election to raise the profile of the Canadian Coalition of Municipalities against Racism and Discrimination by asking questions of all mayoralty and councillor candidates on CCMARD at public all-candidate meetings. All councillor candidates and two of the mayoralty candidates endorsed and committed to CCMARD, including the man who became Mayor of Whitehorse, Dan Curtis. Currently one of the new City councillors has been working to set up a Whitehorse City Council Standing Committee on CCMARD so City councillors and officials can work on CCMARD initiatives with the Commission and local groups working to end racism and discrimination in Whitehorse. This second and successful effort to have Whitehorse City join the coalition was catalyzed by a very public act of racism: someone sprayed racist graffiti on the campaign signs of a municipal election candidate who was from the Sikh community in Whitehorse.

Housing as a Human Right

The Commission has continued to work with local NGO's and members of the Yukon Legislature's Select Committee on the Landlord Tenant Act on the issue of housing as a human right over the past four years. After some targeted legislative consultation and submissions from the Commission and other community groups, a bill to amend the Yukon's decades-old landlord and tenant law has been introduced in the Legislative Assembly this fall session. There have been many improvements to the law, but no amendments related to human rights to fulfil recommendations in that regard made by the Select Committee on the Landlord and Tenant Act nor some of the other recommendations the Commission and other community organizations made during consultations with the government Ministry responsible for the Act.

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CASHRA - The Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies