Sunday

Human Rights Day 10 December

Human Rights Day 10 December

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns 70

Let’s stand up for equality, justice and human dignity

Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December – the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This year, Human Rights Day kicks off a year-long campaign to mark the upcoming 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a milestone document that proclaimed the inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being -- regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. It is the most translated document in the world, available in more than 500 languages.
Drafted by representatives of diverse legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration sets out universal values and a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations. It establishes the equal dignity and worth of every person. Thanks to the Declaration, and States’ commitments to its principles, the dignity of millions has been uplifted and the foundation for a more just world has been laid. While its promise is yet to be fully realized, the very fact that it has stood the test of time is testament to the enduring universality of its perennial values of equality, justice and human dignity.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights empowers us all. The principles enshrined in the Declaration are as relevant today as they were in 1948. We need to stand up for our own rights and those of others. We can take action in our own daily lives, to uphold the rights that protect us all and thereby promote the kinship of all human beings.   
#StandUp4HumanRights
  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights empowers us all.
  • Human rights are relevant to all of us, every day.
  • Our shared humanity is rooted in these universal values.
  • Equality, justice and freedom prevent violence and sustain peace.
  • Whenever and wherever humanity's values are abandoned, we all are at greater risk.
  • We need to stand up for our rights and those of others.

Friday

Our new Online Edition launched at European Parliament - Freedom of Thought Report

Our new Online Edition launched at European Parliament - Freedom of Thought Report

Today in Brussels we launched the fifth edition of the Freedom of Thought Report. And in a huge change this year the report is no longer primarily a downloadable PDF.
We have been busy building an online system so that each country in the world now has its own individual page on this website. See the Country Index for the full list. The ratings system is database-driven so that each individual country’s rating table is interactive and links back to the full Ratings System page – where you can learn more about our innovative assessment methodology. World maps of the report’s summary findings and an open data platform are also available.
In the foreword to the 2016 edition, the newly appointed UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Dr Ahmed Shaheed, said that “narrowly defined views on religious freedom” were letting the non-religious down. He describes several of the cases covered in the report and says: “The IHEU report is an important reminder that the right to freedom from religion or belief is as fundamental as the right to freedom of religion, and that the same human right protects freedom of non-religious thought and non-religious belief as well; and that for some humanists, atheists, free-thinkers and the unconcerned the protection of this right can mean the difference between life and death.”
At the launch event today, the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) was hosted by the European Parliamentary Intergroup on Freedom of Religion or Belief at the European Parliament in Brussels. Dennis de Jong MEP, chair of the Intergroup, welcomed the report saying “It is because of reports like this that we are able to do our jobs [as MEPs]” and “to be more vigilant”. Agreeing with the foreword by Dr Shaheed, he said that the Intergroup itslef “learned a lot from the Report” and would be raising the Report with the European Union’s External Action Service. Miltiadis Kyrkos MEP praised the IHEU’s work and the innovative methodology and development of the Report into its new online format.



Freedom of Thought Report 2017

Home - Freedom of Thought Report

About this website: The Freedom of Thought Report is a unique worldwide survey of discrimination and persecution against humanists, atheists and the non-religious published by the International Humanist and Ethical Union ⬤ The Report contains an entry for every country in the world ⬤ We apply a specially-developed rating system to every country ⬤ You can download the latest “Key Countries” edition as a PDF ⬤ 

Thursday

Write for Rights | Amnesty International Canada

Write for Rights events across the country | Amnesty International Canada



Find a location to write letters for Amnesty on Human Rights Day.

CSI: Centre for Social Innovation, Annex, Toronto, open 1-7 for writing drop-in!


Friday

U of T will not permit use of campus for Toronto Nationalist Rally...

Humanists for Social and Environmental Action: U of T will not permit use of campus for Toronto N...:

The University of Toronto has notified organizers of the Toronto Nationalist Rally, in writing, that they are not permitted to use space on its campuses. 

Earlier this week, the university learned the organization had indicated in a Facebook post that it would hold the rally on U of T’s downtown Toronto campus in September. The organization did not have permission to hold the event at U of T.
The university reported the erroneous claim to Facebook and followed up with a ‘cease-and-desist’ letter to the organization, requesting that it discontinue using the name of the university or any “other practices which may lead to the perception that your September 14th event is located, sponsored, hosted, or endorsed by or has any relationship to, the University of Toronto.”
The Canadian Nationalist Party subsequently sent U of T an email asking how to book space. Although no formal request was ever made, the university has told the organization in writing that U of T will not permit it to hold events on campus “because of concerns about the safety of students, faculty, staff and the public.” 
The university's policy on booking space explains that the university “reserves the right to control access to its campuses, and to the use of its space and facilities.” The policy makes it clear that the use of university space must abide by U of T's principles, including freedom of expression, mutual respect and civility, and that safety concerns will be taken into consideration.
The move comes against the backdrop of violence, racism and anti-Semitism in the United States that culminated last weekend in a rally by white supremacists in Virginia that left three dead, including an anti-racism protester.
“Bigotry, hate, intolerance and violence have no place on our campuses,” President Meric Gertlersaid. “The recent use of Neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan slogans and symbols in Charlottesville, Virginia must be condemned in the strongest terms.  We must be clear that this is never acceptable. At the same time, the events in Virginia have justifiably increased concern about safety in our community and elsewhere.”

Read the president's statement

Read the Globe and Mail article

Read the Toronto Star article

Sunday

The Hart House Global Commons:March 22

The Hart House Global Commons: Interview with Two... - Hart House, University of Toronto

Hart house is hosting the first-ever Hart House Global Commons on March 22. Students from Sciences Po in Reims, France, and Indiana University Bloomington in Indiana, USA, will join U of T students virtually in a discussion about the rise of nationalist movements around the world. We have already heard from two U of T students and one IU Bloomington student about their involvement in this much needed global conversation, and now we turn to Sciences Po students Katarina, and Sebastian.Why did you choose to get involved? K: I was made aware of this initiative through a specific class that I am taking at Sciences Po, Citizens and Politics. I was motivated by this particular subject, in light of recent events, and wanted to understand how they came about from a practical and theoretical framework, their repercussions, and get my fellow peers’ take on the events through discussions.SM: I chose to get involved in this project because this semester I am taking three classes in political sciences, two of which focus especially on political representation.
In your opinion, how is the topic of nationalism relevant to students today?K: New nationalism is relevant to all segments of society due to the pervasiveness of the issues as well as its successful rise in prominence and power. As students from all around the world, new nationalism is a phenomenon that we will have to address from multiple standpoints and contexts.
SM: I think Nationalism is a currently relevant topic to students since it is reviving in many states around the world. Let’s think about America First, or the racist statements of Marine Le Pen in France and Matteo Salvini in Italy. As a European, I feel moreover that nationalism is nowadays strongly linked with the EU, since indeed nationalist (and many times populist) movements blame the EU as a scapegoat for contemporary economic and political issues, and advocate for the return of a more nation-centered political agenda, independent [of] international trends and institutions. 
What would you say to a fellow student who was unsure about attending Global Commons?K: This conversation is a unique opportunity to exchange views between students from multiple universities and develop these views, and should therefore definitely not be missed.SM: I would tell her such a possibility […] can open her eyes concerning such a hot topic, and that it would be a unique opportunity to listen to different points of view and ideas to better understand what she thinks herself.  
How do you feel about students from universities abroad getting involved? What would you ask them if you could meet them in person?K: As a student currently studying at a university not in her native country, I have seen how enriching it is to talk to students from different backgrounds as it adds much more to a conversation than simply if everyone has had the same experiences. I would ask if there is a specific way that nationalism has impacted their personal lives directly or indirectly?SM: I think that having students of different nationalities from different universities makes such a project more far-reaching and ambitious. I think that it will be really interesting to listen to other students and to understand what they think in order to better define what I think myself too. If I were to meet them in person I’d ask them why they decided to participate in this project and whether they think nationalism will gain importance and power in the future. 

Friday

OHS Statement on Quebec Mosque Attack | Ontario Humanist Society

OHS Statement on Quebec Mosque Attack | Ontario Humanist Society

The Ontario Humanist Society (OHS) sends condolences to the victims of the terrible act of violence perpetrated at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Quebec yesterday. Our thoughts are not only with the victims, but also their families and friends, the Muslim community and the people of Quebec. We stand united with all who denounce this horrendous act and join in calling for unity, tolerance and respect in a time when so many try to divide us.
Freedom of religion is a fundamental human right, and everyone, everywhere should be free to practice their religion, or lack thereof, as they see fit, without fear of discrimination or persecution. Intolerance, fear and division are not the way forward for the human race and we must unite against any effort to promote those misguided efforts.
If we all choose to live with compassion, empathy, reason and respect, we will not be divided.

Statement of Solidarity February 1, 2017 The Campus Chaplains’ Association

Statement of Solidarity February 1, 2017
The Campus Chaplains’ Association
The Campus Chaplains' Association at the University of Toronto are horrified and angered by the heartbreaking loss of life at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Qu├ębec City on January 29. We express our deepest grief. As leaders of ethical and faith communities, we are deeply saddened that a place of worship and gathering for the Muslim community was the centre of violence.

As campus chaplains, we understand diversity of belief and cultural background as a gift to our community. Each of the religious and ethical groups represented by the campus chaplains is searching for new ways to live peacefully with its neighbours. We commit to walking the path of peace together, in solidarity with our Muslim students, colleagues and friends. This path is a way forward, in the hopes that we can build a loving diverse society together.  

Dr Homa Hoodfar at Earth Sciences tonight at 6:30

Tomorrow night, Friday February 3rd at 6:30 pm, former prisoners of conscience Dr. Homa Hoodfar, Mohamed Fahmy, Hamid Ghassemi-Shall and Mostafa Azizi will be joining Alex Neve, Amnesty International's Secretary General, along with human rights experts and Members of Parliament for a panel in support of Saeed Malekpour

Saeed Malekpour is a Canadian permanent resident originally from Iran who has been imprisoned in Iran's Evin Prison since 2008 for creating an open source software for uploading photos to the internet. The Iranian authorities said the program was used to upload photos to pornographic websites, which Saeed maintains were made without his knowledge. Amnesty International is calling for his immediate release. Dr

Friday, February 3, 2017
6:30 - 8:30 pm
Earth Sciences Building, University of Toronto (5 Bancroft Ave)

You can find the full details on Facebook >>

Registration is not required, but feel free to let us know if you will be attending so we can look out for you and also thank you in person for your support. You can reach Sara at SAgeorlo@amnesty.ca.

Thank you for all you do for human rights in Iran and around the world!

Tuesday

Women's March on Washington: Toronto March, Jan 21, 12pm

Women's March on Washington: Toronto
Across Turtle Island (North America) we have seen a rise in acts of hate coinciding with the American election. On Saturday, January 21, join us for a march to unite our communities in Toronto and to speak out.
We come together to say we will not be silent in the face of the hate that has threatened, demonized and insulted so many of us – Muslims, Jews, racialized people, Indigenous people, migrants and those with precarious or no legal status, members of the LGBTTQQ2SI communities, differently abled people and women.
In the spirit of saying no to hate and yes to justice, equity and social change, people around the world will be mobilizing and resisting as Trump is inaugurated. The lived experiences of colonialism and anti-black racism, xenophobia, homophobia and transphobia, sexism and oppression has existed long before Trump, but we worry that the recent US election has provided a new wave that normalizes and makes hate acceptable.
Now is a critical moment to come together to send a united message. We cannot afford to be silent or idle. Let us continue to push for justice for the most marginalized and oppressed among us.
All allies are welcome.

Monday

Blanket Exercise, Hart House, register for Thurs Jan 19, 10am

Blanket Exercise: Lessons in Canadian History from Indigenous Experience
10 am – 12 pm, Thu Jan 19, Hart House
Join an interactive story telling experience that explores the history of Indigenous Peoples that we’re rarely taught. Register at multi.faith@utoronto.ca. For details, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/1588561227826914/ 

MFCentre, Brown Girls Yoga, every thursday @ 5

good idea! every thursday!
Brown Girls Yoga
5 pm – 6 pm, Main Activity Hall, Multi-Faith Centre
For self-identified Black, Indigenous and People of Colour, who currently or formerly identify as woman/girl. Queer- and trans- positive space. All bodies, sizes and levels welcome. Bring your own yoga mats. Some yoga mats available on site. No registration required. Join us every Thursday! For details, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/655849014594708

Thursday

Science for Peace: The Ethics of Immigration, Jan 11, 7pm UC

Science for Peace: The Ethics of Immigration
Wed, Jan 11, 2017: The Ethics of Immigration

Free public lecture on January 11, 2017 from 7-9pm in Room UC 144 of University College (15 King’s College Circle, Toronto, ON M5S 3H7 ) at the University of Toronto’s St George campus

The Ethics of Immigration, by Joseph Carens
Professor of Political Science at University of Toronto
Facebook event page: www.facebook.com/events/349876718715460

This event is part of a weekly series of talks entitled: Vital Discussions of Human Security .
Please see www.scienceforpeace.ca/events for details on all of our upcoming events. Please see our YouTube channel for videos from past events: www.youtube.com/science4peace .

Death and dying: Grief sharing circle Jan 17

Grief Support Sharing Circle
 5:10 – 7:30 pm Tues Jan 17
Faculty of Social Work, 246 Bloor St W (Bedford and Bloor)
Everyone grieves in their own way. When someone you love dies, you may feel angry, isolated, sad, guilty and lonely. The Grief Sharing Circle is an informal drop-in support group for students who have experienced a death of someone close to them. Facilitated by Shauna Corbin, Counsellor, Health and Wellness and Macro Mascarin, Buddhist Chaplain. Please register at: laurie.coleman@utoronto.ca

Friday

Amnesty International Canada - Action for Aleppo

Amnesty International Canada
Update(December 16, 2016): Thousands of people are now trapped in freezing temperatures as evacuations have stopped.

Right now, people in East Aleppo are posting their final goodbyes online as government forces gain full control of the city. Instead of being given a safe path out, they face being trapped, tortured or executed.

In a matter of hours at least 82 civilians, including children, were shot on the spot by government and allied forces who entered their homes, or at gunpoint in the streets. A tentative ceasefire has now fallen apart again.

The lives of tens of thousands of people are in the hands of the Russian and Syrian governments.

Join our urgent call for the safe evacuation of the people trapped in Aleppo and the deployment of UN monitors to protect people from harm.

Monday

NATIONAL DAY OF REMEMBRANCE & ACTION ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN Dec 6, Hart House


Tuesday, December 6, 2016
11:45 am – 2:00 pm
Main Activity Hall, Multi-Faith Centre (569 Spadina Avenue)
NEW LOCATION: Hart House (7 Hart House Circle)
Staff, students and faculty are invited to join us for the December 6th National Day of Remembrance & Action on Violence Against Women. We will hear from various speakers and work on an interactive activity together to commemorate this day and to look ahead to the important work that we can all do to take action on violence against women.

Saturday

Tweet for Write for Rights on Human Rights Day! | Amnesty International Canada

Tweet for Write for Rights on Human Rights Day! | Amnesty International Canada
This Human Rights Day, December 10th, people around the world will be joining Amnesty to write for rights. In this blog post, we are going to share with you how to engage the world and your country in celebrating the power of letter writing and defending human rights. If you have not yet registered with Write for Rights, visit our website and be sure to sign up. You’ll find our featured 2016 cases, and ideas on how to host your own letter-writing parties.
This year, Amnesty International will be using Twitter to create an online wave of speaking out for human rights through YOUR tweets about Write for Rights. Let’s show the world that human rights matter, by making the 2016 Write for Rights hashtag #W4R16 and #Write4Rights appear in conversations online throughout the entire day.

Thursday

World Aids Day at UC Dec 1

Today  University College will be lit up red. This has become an annual tradition for UC during World AIDS Day every December 1st. World AIDS Day is an opportunity to show support to and solidarity with the millions of people living with HIV and AIDS. Historically, HIV/AIDS has had a huge impact on LGBTQ+ communities and it continues to affect our communities. Today is an opportunity to talk about HIV and to continue raising awareness, fighting stigma and improving education. World AIDS Day serves as a great opportunity to bring attention to these issues, and it serves as a reminder of why it is important to continue this work all year round.

There are many organizations in Toronto and the GTA that focus specifically on providing support to and raising awareness within LGBTQ+ communities affected by HIV/AIDS. Here are just a few that we have had the pleasure to work with.

-          ACT (AIDS Committee of Toronto)

Monday

Vigils for Orlando

In light of the tragic deaths in Orlando on Sunday, two vigils are being planning on campus:

U of T Orlando Memorial: An Act of Solidarity
Wednesday June 15, 2016
Wednesday June 15, 12:00-12:30pm
Memorial Benches in front of Hart House

Vigil for Pulse Nightclub Tragedy (organized by LGBTOUT and APUS)
Tuesday June 14 at 9pm
King’s College Circle


Thursday

Science for Peace: Drones and Robots, Canada's Policy. Free, UC, June 15

Drones and Killer Robots: Canada's Policy

Military operations have increasingly included precision guided munitions and unmanned aircraft known as drones. Under development are unmanned fully autonomous armaments, or ”killer robots’’ that destroy or kill without a human in the decision loop. Now is the time to debate what Canada plans to do about this.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016, 7 pm
Room 261, University College, 15 Kings College Circle, University of Toronto.
All are welcome. No charge.

Speakers:

  • Michel Duguay, Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Laval University and chair, Science for Peace Working Group on Drones
  • Walter Dorn, Professor of Defence Studies, Royal Military College and Canadian Forces College
  • Cesar Jaramillo, Executive Director, Project Ploughshare