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Celebrating the UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

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March 21, 2013

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For immediate release

TorontoToday, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) joins human rights commissions and agencies across Canada and around the world in celebrating the United Nations (UN) International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The day pays tribute to the tragic events of March 21, 1960 in Sharpeville, South Africa when 69 peaceful demonstrators were killed as they protested against apartheid. Canada was one of the first countries to support the UN initiative.

“Race was one of the first grounds covered by the Ontario Human Rights Code when it was introduced over 50 years ago in 1962,” said Barbara Hall, Chief Commissioner of the OHRC, adding that, “Racism and hate have no place in any community in Ontario. And yet, 50 years later, as the stories below indicate, much needs to done. We all have a responsibility to end  racism and racial discrimination in our society.”

As part of last year’s 50th anniversary of Ontario’s Human Rights Code, the OHRC launched its Living Rights Project. This project is a web-based living library featuring videos of people talking about what “Human rights in Ontario” means and relating a personal story related to the grounds of the Code, such as race, ethnic origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, etc.

The project’s goal is to teach people about real-life experiences of human rights and to serve as an ongoing resource for all Ontarians. In celebration of today’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, click the following to view a first set of videos dealing with experiences of racism and racial discrimination:

  • A job, a home, but not to you (video)
    The Hon. Jean Augustine talks about her early personal experiences with racism in Ontario.
  • Assaulting Asian Canadian anglers (video)
    Susan Eng, Vice President of Advocacy for Carp, talks about the recent spate of assaults on Asian Canadian anglers across Ontario, and their lingering affects.
  • Canadian experience (video)
    Ratna Omidvar, President of Maytree, talks about discriminatory requirements for Canadian experience, and how the issue of racism may have been driven underground.
  • Racial profiling a fact of life (video)
    Delorean Klien, Marketing Coordinator for the Ontario Black History Society, talks about his experiences with racial profiling.


For more information:

Afroze Edwards
Sr. Communications Officer
Ontario Human Rights Commission