June 9, 2014: Human Rights Leaders from around the world converge to Montreal for three weeks of specialized training

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Today, 80 human rights defenders from over 40 countries are arriving in Montreal to attend the 35th session of Equitas’ International Human Rights Training Program (IHRTP), which runs from June 8 to June 27. Many of the participants come from countries in conflict or with authoritarian regimes where human rights are a very sensitive issue. During this specialized training program, they will deepen their understanding of human rights and enhance their skills to educate about human rights within their communities.

The IHRTP enjoys an excellent international reputation that attracts the very best human rights leaders. This year is no different, with people coming from countries very much in the news these days, such as Ukraine, Egypt, Nigeria, Afghanistan, India, Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tunisia, Haiti and Mali. The courage and strength of the participants are exemplary. Their personal stories and experience are unique. The 35th edition of the IHRTP offers journalists wonderful opportunities to meet these inspiring leaders and help tell their stories to the public.

“During the past 35 years, the IHRTP has trained over 3,500 human rights educators creating one of the largest international communities of human rights educators”, says Equitas’ Executive Director Ian Hamilton. “We are extremely proud that this training in Montreal is playing a significant role in advancing human rights around the globe.”

“Past participants have told us the IHRTP has been a big boost in their efforts to make a positive change within their community”, adds Melissa Sonberg, Chair of Equitas’ Board of Directors. “After the training, they take on leadership roles within the human rights movement, becoming heads of organizations, United Nations’ Special Rapporteurs or members of national human rights commissions around the globe.”

About Equitas Equitas – International Centre for Human Rights Education was founded in Montreal in 1967 by a group of eminent Canadian scholars and social activists, including John Humphrey, one of the drafters of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; and Thérèse Casgrain, campaigner for women’s right to vote in Quebec. It is a non-profit organization that works for the advancement of equality, social justice and respect for human dignity in Canada and around the world through transformative human rights education programs. Equitas provides individuals the necessary tools to shape attitudes and positive behaviours, thus contributing to a lasting social change. Its human rights education programs have measurable impacts and its methodology has been recognized for its quality and innovation by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Our Partners The International Human Rights Training Program is undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD), as well as the generous support from Aimia. The participants are hosted and trained at John Abbott College in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue.

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