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March 18, 2014: Rights defenders from Yemen and British Columbia recognized in Toronto and Montreal

Human rights abuses are grabbing international headlines from Syria to Uganda. In a few weeks, the 20th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda will be another painful reminder of what can happen when human rights violations go unchecked. In Canada, we have our own struggles with diversity, exclusion, violence and addressing the injustices faced by First Nations people. Yet across this country and around the world, amazing individuals and organizations work to advance equality, respect for human dignity and diversity, and inclusion. On March 18th and 20th, Equitas – International Centre for Human Rights Education will honour two outstanding organizations – one from Yemen and another from British Columbia – that are changing the lives of young people.  Youth Leadership Development Foundation of Yemen and the Society for Children and Youth of British Columbia – will receive the 2014 Equitas Awards for Human Rights Education that will be presented during awards celebrations in Toronto and Montreal sponsored by Aimia and TD Bank Group. Youth Leadership Development Foundation operates in Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the Arab world with a history of civil conflict that continues today. This youth-led organization has been promoting equality and opportunities for girls since 1998, confronting and overcoming conservative cultural traditions in the process.  It has been successful in equipping young women to assume leadership roles in their communities and has been actively involved in the struggle against early and forced marriages. The group’s co-founder, Gabool Almutawakel, provided technical support in drafting the new legislation raising the minimum age for marriage to 18. For more information: http://www.yldf.org/about.php In Canada, the Society for Children and Youth of British Columbia has been improving the well-being of children and youth since 1974 using an approach rooted in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. SCY has established a reputation for programs that deliver changes in policy, legislation and practice in British Columbia and have an influence across Canada. Through their multi-media Child Rights Awareness Campaign, they engage children, youth, families, government and community leaders.  In New Westminster, they are working with the municipality to create a new child and youth strategy and in Richmond , they helped the City design a new Children’s Charter. For more information: www.scyofbc.org and www.everychild.ca. The Award Ceremonies will take place in: Toronto:              Tuesday, March 18th from 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. TD Centre’s Lambert Room, 54th floor Montreal:           Thursday, March 20th from 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. 7e CIEL at Cirque du Soleil, 8400 2nd Avenue

  • Interviews in person will be possible in Toronto on March 18th
  • Interviews in person (in English) available in Montreal on March 20th

To arrange an interview or to attend one of the events, contact Ian Hamilton, Executive Director at: ihamilton@equitas.org  Tel: (514) 954-0382 ext. 234 or (514) 795-2093 mobile.

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