“The Rights City initiative is the beginning of our shared global ambition to lead the world in respecting and protecting human rights,” he says.
For Béatrice Vaugrante, director of Amnesty International Canada, working together to highlight the urgency of protecting human rights against current threats is an emergency.
“We have to put a stop to the politics of demonization which is creating a divided and dangerous world,” she says.
“Rhetoric of fear, blame and hate erode the vision for an open society based on equality. But together we can turn the tide.”
Mheir Karakachian represents the United Committee of Armenian Organizations in Quebec. He observes that recent history is full of atrocities that started with human rights abuses and starkly culminated with mass persecutions, ethnic cleansing and genocides.
“Unfortunately, history keeps repeating itself right in front of our eyes. This is why we have joined forces to take a stand and send a resounding message against genocides — never again!”
According to Irwin Cotler of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, Rights City takes place amidst an escalating series of threats. He points to a resurgent authoritarianism, culture of impunity, criminalization of dissent, illiberal populism and democracy and democracies in retreat.
“The time has come to sound the alarm and mobilize a global constituency of conscience."
Rights City/Montréal, ville des droits humains takes place on May 26 and 27.
Find out more about Concordia’s Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS).