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https://www.concordia.ca/content/shared/en/news/main/stories/2017/05/08/migs-we-can-turn-the-tide-of-fear-and-hate-rights-city-montreal.html

‘We can turn the tide of fear and hate’

MAY 26-27: Join Concordia’s Montreal Institute of Genocide and Human Rights Studies in recognizing the city’s role in sheltering the oppressed
May 8, 2017
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By Renée Dunk

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One of the oldest and most inclusive cities in North America, Montreal has a long history of encouraging diversity, protecting human rights and offering shelter to people fleeing persecution.

This includes thousands of Vietnamese "boat people" escaping the communist regime in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Montreal has also welcomed many victims of war and oppression, including Armenians, Jews, Ukrainians, Haitians, Rwandans and, more recently, Syrians.

The city has also been at the forefront of the fight for LGBTQ rights, and the annual Montreal Pride celebration is the largest LGBTQ gathering in the francophone world.

To acknowledge the city’s role in advancing human rights, Concordia’s Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS) has joined forces with Amnesty International Canada, the United Committee of Armenian Organizations in Quebec and the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights to organize Rights City/Montréal, ville des droits humains, a major event on May 26 and 27.

There are three core activities: a conference at Concordia, the annual March for Humanity and the Prevention of Genocides, and an evening concert following Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award ceremony. This year’s co-recipients are Alicia Keys and the Indigenous rights movement in Canada.


‘Lead the world’

Lt. Gen. Roméo A. Dallaire, a distinguished senior fellow at MIGS, will speak at the conference. He notes that with the rise of extremism and authoritarianism, Canada and Montreal are positioned like no other time in their history to play leadership roles in protecting human rights and cementing their shared status on the international scene. 

Lt. Gen. Roméo A. Dallaire | Photo by Laura Leyshon Lt. Gen. Roméo A. Dallaire | Photo: Laura Leyshon

“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.”


‘Never again’

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).


Conference at Concordia
When: May 26, 12 to 5:30 p.m.
Where: Sir George Williams University Alumni Auditorium (Room H-110) in the Henry F. Hall Building (1455 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W.)

Annual March for Humanity and the Prevention of Genocides
When: May 27, 12:30 to 4 p.m.
Where: Starts at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’ Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace (2075 Bishop St.) and ends at Place du Canada (corner of Peel St. and René-Lévésque Blvd. W.)

Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award ceremony and concert
When: May 27, 7:30 p.m.
Where: L’Astral (305 Saint-Catherine St. W.).


Visit the 
Rights City/Montréal, ville des droits humains website for event and ticketing information. Please note that registration is mandatory for the conference at Concordia.

 



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