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Dignity, freedom and justice for all.

On December 10, Unifor joins with members, locals, activists and progressives across the globe to celebrate the 75th year of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

Following the atrocities of the Second World War, there was collective recognition of the need to build a shared foundation that supported justice, dignity, peace and freedom for every human being. This basic and bold idea reflected our highest aspiration – to create a universally-agreed upon set of rights to which all people should be entitled.

Over the course of those 75 years, and despite the challenge of creating common standards in a diverse world, the blueprint for universal recognition of rights has helped shape values and understandings about important rights including the right to be free of discrimination, want and fear.

The promise of protection these rights afford, however, have never been fully realized. Torture, slavery, starvation, the suppression of political dissent, labour rights and free speech persist. People still lack access to water, food and housing. Indigenous, Black and people of colour continue to have their rights abridged and denied. Women’s rights, LGBTQ2S+ rights, and the rights of people who live with mental and physical disabilities, and those who are neurodiverse, are minimized and disregarded.

Even these incomplete gains that have been made are under attack. Populist movements desperate to gain power and authoritarian governments seeking to maintain it, attack the very core of our rights. They attack the legitimacy of the institutions that provide remedies for violations of rights, like trade unions and our courts. They launch assaults against the journalists that are central to reporting on rights violations and use technology to spread hate and misinformation. Their extremism fuels intolerance and a lack of respect for human rights.

They cannot win because the world cannot afford to go backwards. Throughout the next year, and going forward, Unifor will call on all allies and activists to defend against every attack on these vital rights.

We will do that by engaging in days of action, reaching out to communities to support reconciliation, tabling demands for equity at bargaining tables, by supporting our own committees and by engaging in international solidarity. We will hold ourselves to our commitments to embed these principles into everything we do.

Please register your committees, reach out for support or provide information on solidarity actins in your communities by contacting HumanRights@Unifor.org.

With the understanding that it is only together that we will achieve our collective goals of justice, fairness and dignity, Unifor will host the first event observing the UDHR’s 75th anniversary on Jan. 18, 2023. The online webinar, “Allyship is Not a Gym Membership,” named after a quote by the union’s Ontario Racial Justice Liaison Peycke Roan, will be open to all members and will provide an opportunity to discuss allyship in a divided world.

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