Recipients of the 2016 Nova Scotia Human Rights Awards were honoured at a ceremony December 10 at the Halifax Central Library. December 10 is the United Nations’ International Human Rights Day. Each year the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission honours deserving Nova Scotians nominated by their peers for work in the field of human rights, social justice and advocacy.
The theme this year is, Stand up for someone’s rights today!
“This year’s recipients have all answered this call to action, and Nova Scotia is a better province because of them,” said Christine Hanson, director and CEO of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission. “The people and groups honoured today have impacted the lives of those in their communities and our province.
“Their passion and commitment to human rights at its most local level represent the qualities we value as Nova Scotians, openness, hospitality and perseverance.”
We are proud to announce that ISANS was a recipient for a Nova Scotia Human Rights award!
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, John McCallum, sent the following letter of congratulations:
Greetings from the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
On behalf of the Government of Canada, I am proud to congratulate the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS), its staff, and its volunteers on receiving this year’s Human Rights Award from the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission.
As the largest immigrant-serving agency in Atlantic Canada, ISANS played a critical role in our initiative to welcome Syrian Refugees.
These refugees had spent months, even years, in fear not knowing how their search for better lives would end. You have accepted and embraced them. And you have helped them adapt and settle into their new lives in Canada, including finding housing and providing language training.
It is because of organizations like ISANS that this point in Canada’s history of humanitarian response will be viewed as a great success.
As Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, it is a great pleasure to extend my heartfelt thanks to your selfless work to help newcomers to Canada. You exemplify why Canada is a stronger country through openness and diversity.
Congratulations on receiving this well-deserved award.
The Honourable John McCallum, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
Here is a full list of recipients:
–- Samuel Gregan, Halifax, Grade 9 student at Gorsebrook Junior High, honuored for his work as an LGBTQ advocate
Dr. Allan Burnley “Rocky” Jones Individual Award
–- David Leitch, Halifax, recognized for his work improving access to education for people with disabilities
–- former Halifax Poet Laureate El Jones and Raymond Tynes, Truro, for their commitment to advancing human rights, equity and inclusion
–- Alexa McDonough Institute, Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, for its annual Girls’ Conference for girls and young women to learn in a safe space about human rights and social justice issues
— Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia, Halifax, in recognition of its work and the work of all Nova Scotians who assisted in the settlement of more than 1,100 Syrian refugees.
Bios of the recipients are available at, humanrights.novascotia.ca/HRA2016
“Human rights play a role in our daily lives,” said Ms. Hanson. “Honouring the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia represents the incredible work not only of their organization but of all Nova Scotians who assisted in the settlement of more than 1,100 Syrian refugees this year.
“Amid such national and international turmoil, Nova Scotians answered a call to step up and welcome people seeking a safer life in our province. We should all be very proud and continue to seek opportunities together to enrich our province.”
The event included award presentations, music and dance performances by local students, poetry and an opportunity for guests to network with this year’s winners.
For more information on the Nova Scotia Human Rights Awards visit humanrights.novascotia.ca .