Premier John Horgan and Rachna Singh, Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives, have issued the following statement on the 73rd anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly:
“Today, we observe Human Rights Day, when countries around the world unite to recognize the rights of every person to live without discrimination, regardless of our differences. As we slowly emerge from the pandemic, we must use the theme of this year’s Human Rights Day – equality – as a guiding principle to keep at the heart of all we do to support each other every day.
“Shifting toward recovery from the pandemic, our government remains focused on rebuilding a better and fairer world for everyone. With a focus on equality for all, we can help break cycles of systemic discrimination, create a more sustainable and inclusive society, and ensure a better future for our children.
“As a Province, we have been taking important steps to combat inequality, address systemic discrimination and uphold human rights.
“Last month, we added Indigenous identity as a protected ground against discrimination in the B.C. Human Rights Code. We also amended the Interpretation Act to make it clear that all provincial laws support and do not diminish the rights of Indigenous Peoples. These amendments were integral pieces of the draft Action Plan for the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act and a step toward reconciliation in partnership with Indigenous communities and ensuring human rights for all.
“We are currently engaging with racialized and marginalized communities about how to collect race-based data to improve government services and address systemic barriers. What we hear from communities over the coming months will help to inform how our anti-racism data legislation will be implemented once it is introduced in 2022. This legislation will help tackle inequality head on and pave the way to a more inclusive province.
“We are also committed to making B.C. a province where women, gender-diverse and two-spirit people feel safe. We are starting work on a multi-year action plan to end gender-based violence, with public engagement to start in the new year, and the plan expected to be released later in the year. This important work will address minimum standards for sexual assault response, create more training for police, Crown counsel and justices, and establish core funding for sexual assault centres.
“Every British Columbian deserves the right to live free of discrimination. The changes we are making as a province will promote diversity and inclusion. Today, let’s celebrate our differences and the shared experiences that form our identity as British Columbians, while upholding human rights and equality for all.”
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