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This year marks the 70th anniversary that the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

This year marks the 70th anniversary that the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Human Rights Day commemorates the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document that states that human rights are not the preserve of any one nation, race, or gender but that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

Unifor is committed to advocating, defending and furthering human rights for all. The union’s social justice fund is one of many ways in which Unifor provides solidarity to defenders of human rights. The union’s social justice fund engages in this vital work in Canada and across the globe. The fund promotes and supports the role of trade unions and workers groups in their efforts to strengthen democracy, promote equitable development, and contribute to poverty reduction, social justice and education reform.

The union’s Human Rights Department has been actively promoting human rights campaigns in workplaces, the local unions and communities. Most recently, Unifor conducted an equity audit over nine months during 2016 and 2017 and included semi-structured interviews with 470 local unions across the country, and asked questions about the diversity of local membership, the executive committee, stewards, and bargaining committees.

While the union is aware that representation gaps exist, the purpose of the audit was to understand the specific barriers better to overcome our collective challenges. The union is currently implementing the recommendations made from the national equity audit report. Members are encouraged to read the full equity audit report and learn more about Unifor’s findings and action plan.

Attaining human rights for all will not come easy. But if we actively incorporate promoting human rights in our daily lives, it can be attainable. Members can become active human rights defenders by:

  1. Ensure your local union participates in Unifor Human Rights training.
  2. On December 10, use Unifor’s social media shareable to highlight the union’s human rights work.
  3. Read the full Unifor equity audit report and promote the report to your members.

International Human Rights Day is a reminder that inequity, intolerance, discrimination, exclusion, and hatred threaten us all. It is a reminder of our shared humanity and of the necessity of standing up not just for ourselves, but for those most in need. Wherever they are challenged, it is our responsibility to offer a collective response.

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