Rescind Margaret Wente's Massey College Appointment

Rescind Margaret Wente's Massey College Appointment:

We — the undersigned students, faculty, staff, alumni, and donors of the University of Toronto — call on Massey College to immediately rescind their appointment of Margaret Wente as a Senior Fellow and Member of the Quadrangle Society. In her career as a journalist, Margaret Wente published racist pseudoscience and was repeatedly investigated for plagiarism(1).

We believe this disqualifies Margaret Wente from serving in a group of “people who demonstrate the ethical pursuit of the public good that we want to model for our Junior Fellowship”(2). Dr. Rinaldo Walcott and Dr. Minelle Mahtani said in a 2014 article that “journalists like […] Wente are committed to telling stories about race where a cast of stereotypes of the worst kind is rolled out, masquerading as insightful queries.”(3) speaking about her article promoting the claims of Nicholas Wade, a heavily criticized pseudo-scientist.(4)

 In the same week where Massey College made a public commitment to addressing Anti-Black racism and held a talk on Anti-Black racism, we feel it is greatly disappointing that Governing Board did not back up these words with their actions.

 BIPOC Fellows, academics, and staff deserve to feel safe at Massey College. Allowing Margaret Wente’s appointment to stand will make the College a less safe place for them. We stand in solidarity with the Fellows and academics who have already spoken out.


Take Action | Amnesty International Canada

Take Action | Amnesty International Canada:

Canadian companies operate mining, energy and hydro-electric projects across Canada and in over 100 countries around the world. Many of these projects have been associated with serious human rights and environmental abuses, prompting the Canadian government to establish voluntary initiatives to encourage companies to respect human rights.

However, Canada’s active promotion of oil, gas, mining and hydro projects coupled with an alarming lack of corporate respect for human rights has led to wide-spread impunity for corporate human rights abuses.  During the global COVID19 pandemic, this is especially concerning. Many countries – including Canada – have declared mining, energy and construction as essential services, allowing companies to continue operating.  Communities are concerned that their governments are not taking the additional risks to workers and communities seriously enough.   While some companies are taking appropriate measures, inadequate sanitation, physical distancing, and sleeping arrangements in work camps and on job sites are frequently reported by workers.

As of June 1, available data shows infection transmission at nearly two-dozen Canadian operated mine sites in Canada and the Americas alone, resulting in hundreds of sick workers and community transmission of the virus.   In the Democratic Republic of Congo, where much of the world’s copper and cobalt are mined, workers have been pressured to accept shifts of up to two months or risk losing their jobs. They can’t leave the site to be with their families and are forced to sleep in dorms with other workers, are not provided with adequate handwashing facilities, food, or water, and receive very little extra pay – only $2 per day. In Guatemala, community members have accused a Canadian mining company of taking advantage of the health and economic crisis to garner support by handing out food and other aid in exchange for people’s names and ID numbers. They say this will lead to more tension between community members once pandemic response measures are lifted.  

 The situation for human rights and earth defenders, especially those who oppose resource exploitation, is dire: their freedom of mobility has been severely curtailed by lockdown measures, putting them at ever greater risk of harm by those who wish to silence them. In Colombia alone, more than 28 human rights defenders have been murdered since March, including people killed in their homes while they complied with quarantine measures. Colombia continues to be one of the most dangerous places on earth to undertake this work.  



House passes $9B aid package after emergency student benefit boosted | CTV News

House passes $9B aid package after emergency student benefit boosted | CTV News: As it had been proposed initially on April 22, eligible postsecondary students and recent graduates who have seen their education and job prospects hampered by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will receive $1,250 a month from May to August. For those who have a disability, or are taking care of someone else, that amount increases to $1,750 monthly.


U of T launches COVID-19 Emergency Student Bursary Fund

U of T launches COVID-19 Emergency Student Bursary Fund -

University of Toronto has launched the COVID-19 Emergency Student Bursary Fund. Open to graduate and undergraduate students from all three campuses, this emergency relief will provide support for students with urgent needs, supporting requirements for food, shelter, emergency travel, and internet access in order to complete their coursework.

 Since mid-March, U of T has distributed more than $1.2 million in emergency funding to more than 1,000 students. Leaders, faculty, and staff at every faculty, college, school, department, and campus have stepped up to ensure students get the help they need—whether that be the logistics of adjusting to online studies, support for health and well-being, or the urgent financial pressures many face. While measures to bring the pandemic under control remain in place, the need among our students will continue to grow. Many have seen their summer jobs put on hold, and others have unexpected costs as their families experience economic hardship. These young U of T students—who have such promise and potential—need your support.

Please consider giving to the COVID-19 Emergency Student Bursary Fund today to ensure our students have the support they need to continue their studies through these uncertain times.

[This is the announcement asking for donations.  It does not contain information on how to apply]


Portal for COVID resources UofT, Undergrad & Grad

Check the University of Toronto’s coronavirus updates and frequently asked questions (FAQs) for updates relevant to the whole U of T community.
This page contains information for U of T students regarding the University’s responses and actions related to the coronavirus (COVID-19). Please continue to check your U of T email, since you may be receiving emails directly from your divisions, residences, and Deans of Students.
Graduate Students, please also visit the School of Graduate Studies webpage for specific updates.

Emergency Undergrad Grant - March - April

Emergency Undergraduate Grant Application (2020 March – April)

The Emergency Undergraduate Grant is intended to assist current U of T undergraduate domestic and international students impacted by COVID-19 and who need immediate short-term financial relief because of unexpected expenses. This grant is open to both part-time and full-time students.
Each request for emergency aid is considered on its own merits and based on need associated with an educational program and unexpected critical costs for March and April incurred by students as a direct result of COVID-19.  Expenses that may be considered include living costs, travel home, moving costs, and other extraordinary and reasonable needs.
The grant is not able to cover expenses that are unrelated to COVID-19 and existing debt obligations or non-essential expenses. Examples of ineligible expenses are outstanding tuition fees to U of T; request for summer tuition fees for courses taken elsewhere; support for partner or family expenses; expenses for MCAT preparatory course; mortgage or maintenance fees for secondary residence and other discretionary expenses (e.g., missed car payment, gym membership).

Submit grant application by email 

  • Complete all sections of the Emergency Undergraduate Grant Application
  • Submit the completed form through your Faculty/ Division/ College Registrar’s Office with the Subject Line “2020 Winter Emergency Undergraduate Grant Application”. Use your U of T email address to submit the form. Do not use non U of T email accounts (such as Hotmail/Gmail etc)
  • Your Faculty/ Division/ College will review the application and will forward the completed form with their recommendation to Enrolment Services.

Resources for COVID lockdown

Many of us are still completing online exams and submitting papers, checkout the attached tips from Academic Success. Also see below information for a grant for a Grad Research Fellowship, a paid Wellness Internship and engaging online sessions to take a break, centre yourself and reduce anxiety.  

Take Home and Online Exam Tips
Graduate Research Fellowship - deadline: Thurs April 30
Wellness Events and Assessment Paid Internship - deadline Sun April 26
5 Ways to Wellbeing
Gratitude reduces stress?!   Improves one’s sleep?!
Workout Circuit – Stay fit in your own room
Mindfulness Meditation Sessions
Student Info & Support re Covid 19

Take Home & Online Exams Tips– Academic Success
Review the attachment from Academic Success for tips about take home and online exams.

Research Fellowship  -  $4,000    Deadline: Thursday April 30
The Multi-Faith Centre is accepting applications from University of Toronto graduate students for a $4,000 research fellowship that will be awarded for the 2020-2021 academic year. DEADLINE: April 30, 2020
The Research Fellow will contribute to scholarship at the Multi-Faith
 Centre by advancing research on the role of religion and spirituality
 in student or young adult development within the broader framework of how religion and spirituality are understood in society. 

For complete details and application process please go to:

Wellness Events and Assessment Paid Internship - 2020-2021 academic year - Deadline: Sun April 26
This position requires an outgoing individual who enjoys event planning, building community and improving programming through thoughtful assessment.  The position is 10 hours per week and involves assisting with registration, communication, room booking, scheduling, greeting and connecting with students.  Candidates should have a sound knowledge of different approaches to well-being. Please apply at:  CLN job #163281

5 Ways to Wellbeing
12 noon 1:15 pm April 22nd, online
Explore five simple, evidence-based actions to promote positive mental health and wellbeing while practicing physical distancing and managing new stressors related to COVID-19. This interactive session introduces a cluster of activities that promote resiliency and reduce stress.
Sponsored by U of T Health Promotions

Gratitude reduces stress?!   Improves one’s sleep?!
2 – 3:30 pm Wed, Apr 22, online
This interactive online workshop will focus on some practices that help students to channel their gratitude during challenging times and reduce stress.

Over the past decade, psychology researchers have noted the great social, psychological, and physical health benefits that come from giving thanks. The simple act of writing down the things for which we are grateful has been shown to provide benefits including better sleep, fewer symptoms of illness, increased happiness and reduced anxiety. No expertise required.

The initial interactive online workshop will be led by poet and registered psychotherapist Ronna Bloom. In the weeks that follow participants can regroup online to share highlights from their gratitude journals and encourage and support each other in their writing and in their efforts to cope and thrive during these challenging times.
Sponsored by Hart House and the U of T Multi-Faith Centre

Workout Circuit!  Stay fit in your own room!
11 am – 12 noon, Tues April 21
Stay fit & stay healthy. All fitness levels welcome! Sponsored by Hillel, the Jewish student association.
Join on Zoom Here:  All welcome!
Mindfulness Meditation Sessions
Mindful Moments with Liam O'Leary 
12:10 pm - 1 pm, Monday April 20
Gather online to practice mindfulness meditation, suitable for beginners and long-term practitioners.  
Liam is the Graduate Programming Coordinator for the School of Graduate Studies.  He is a certified coach, a graduate of the MEd program in Adult Education at OISE.  Liam takes a solution-focused approach to supporting individuals in their personal, academic and professional growth. 

Wake Up Toronto
7-8:30pm Monday April 13
Wake Up Toronto facilitators have studied and trained with Nobel Peace Prize nominee and Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh in the tradition of Engaged Mindfulness. This session explores how mindfulness can be applied to daily life.
OISE Mindful Moments with Rosa Mina Munjee
12:10 – 1 pm, Thurs April 16
Practice secular mindful meditation to reduce anxiety and increase concentration. Suitable for beginnings and long-time practitioners.

For information and questions regarding student support re Covid 19 please go to:



Yes, however to help limit the spread of COVID-19, courses that start in May (F and Y summer courses) will be delivered remotely. If you've registered for a course that can't be accommodated online, you'll be contacted directly. A decision about the delivery mode for S courses will be made by June 13. In order to make that easier, we have created a central directory where you can find information on the summer session classes from all Faculties and divisions
here is the list for summer courses by faculty, as of March 31


UTERN is continuing to facilitate the distribution of fresh, locally grown produce to students facing food insecurity in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you are struggling to access or afford fresh and nutritious food, please complete the below google form by Friday at 12:00pm for a produce delivery the following week.
Because this project is made possible by our student levy, produce boxes are only available to UofT students and are limited to one box per person. Please apply ASAP.

Peace, Richard
Richard Chambers, M.Div., M.Th.
Director, Multi-Faith Centre for Spiritual Study and Practice, University of Toronto


U of T to observe national moment of silence on Canadian campuses in memory of Flight 752 victims

U of T to observe national moment of silence on Canadian campuses in memory of Flight 752 victims

President Meric Gertler is inviting the U of T community to join a national moment of silence on Jan. 15 in memory of those who died in the crash of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 in Iran last week.
Across Canada, university campuses will observe a moment of silence at 1 p.m. (EST), which Universities Canada is calling on Canadians to join.
“[M]any of the passengers on this flight were university students, faculty, researchers, alumni, and other members of Canada's academic community,” President Gertler said in a statement. “This heartbreaking loss is truly a national tragedy.”
All 176 passengers and crew were killed after the Boeing 737 passenger jet crashed shortly after taking off from Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport en route to Kyiv on Jan. 8. Fifty-seven Canadians were among the victims.
It is estimated that 50 people – students, staff, and faculty members – from 19 universities and four colleges across Canada died in the crash.
Eight members of the U of T community, including six students, were among those whose names were on the plane’s passenger manifest:
In the days since the crash, students, faculty and members of the community have come together in a series of vigils and events at U of T to remember and mourn those who died.
The university was also the site of a community memorial gathering on Jan. 12 organized by Tirgan, an Iranian-Canadian cultural organization.

Round-the-clock support:

Students can speak to a trained crisis worker at any hour of the day.
  • U of T My SSP for students 1-844-451-9700. Immediate counselling support is available in 35 languages and ongoing support in 146 languages.  
Other 24-7 supports available to students include:
The following services are available to students on all three campuses:
Faculty and staff have access to 24-7 support through:


Barbie toymaker Mattel creates gender-neutral dolls

Barbie toymaker Mattel creates gender-neutral dolls

By Sonia Elks
LONDON, Sept 25 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The toymaker behind Barbie launched a range of gender-neutral dolls on Wednesday which can be styled as either girls or boys, saying children were moving away from traditional stereotypes.
Mattel's "Creatable World" dolls come with removable wigs allowing them to switch between long and short hair, as well as outfits including both dresses and trousers, with the firm saying they offer "inclusive" play for all.
"We heard that kids don't want their toys dictated by gender norms," said Kim Culmone, senior vice president of fashion doll design at Mattel.
"Toys are a reflection of culture and as the world continues to celebrate the positive impact of inclusivity, we felt it was time to create a doll line free of labels."
Some parents and feminist campaigners argue gendered marketing of children's toys and clothes limits girls' ambitions and reinforces gender stereotypes from a child's earliest years.
The growing number of children identifying as transgender and non-binary - who do not see themselves as male or female - has also boosted demand for toys which represent a wider range of gender identities.
Culmone said the new "gender-inclusive" dolls, which cost $30 each, would allow "all kids to express themselves freely".
The move was hailed as a step forward by Jess Day of Let Toys Be Toys, which campaigns for gender-neutral toys, who said that children learn about the world through play and stereotyped marketing could have far-reaching consequences.
"It's really nice to see a doll line that is as welcoming to boys as it is to girls," Day told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, adding that she expected to see more manufacturers taking an inclusive approach.
"Toy companies have been quite slow to take on board that the world has changed. Most parents don't really want to see their children's interests limited."
Six in 10 parents agreed that product marketing "reinforces stereotypes about what girls and boys can do", a survey by British women's rights group, the Fawcett Society, found this year.

INTERVIEW-Anti-FGM campaigner Nimco Ali launches global bid to protect girls

INTERVIEW-Anti-FGM campaigner Nimco Ali launches global bid to protect girls

NEW YORK, Sept 25 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Every country must ban female genital mutilation to protect girls and help end poverty, Somali-born British campaigner Nimco Ali said as she launched a global project to end the practice by 2030.
About 3.9 million girls have their external genitalia partially or totally removed every year despite health risks, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and this could rise to 4.6 million by 2030 due to population growth.
Ali said FGM was at the heart of gender inequality and called on all countries to act to end the abuse in line with the United Nations' global goals agreed upon in 2015 and save 68 million girls at risk between now and 2030.
"Everyone knows that FGM is wrong," Ali, 36, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations' key annual meeting. "We need to lobby governments to act, but we also need to fund African women at the frontline as they are the orchestrators of their own destiny."
She said she hoped launching her campaign, entitled The Five Foundation, The Global Partnership to End FGM, on Wednesday would build a network of activists and find new sources of funding to end the abuse of women that she called a way "to put them in their place".
"You will never end poverty or have peace if you pin girls down aged 5, cut them, break them and sell them for some cows," said Ali who moved to Britain from Somaliland when she was 4 years old.
"There is a massive link between the way countries treat 50% of their population - women - and their prosperity and success."
Ali's campaigning stems from her own childhood when she was cut at age 7 while in Djibouti, in East Africa, on holiday with her family which led to health complications and reconstructive surgery.
FGM is linked with severe long-term complications including cysts, infections and complications in childbirth. In the most severe cases, the vaginal opening is sewn up.
"For me the act of FGM was not the most painful experience, but the fact that it just didn't mean anything," said Ali. "I only forgave my mother finally last year."
After studying law and joining the civil service, Ali began actively campaigning against the practice that is still widespread in about 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
Many people believe the ritual is an important tradition and religious obligation, although it is not in the Koran, and up to 96% of women in countries like Somalia, Egypt and Sudan are cut.

Plenty more fish in the sea? Not for the poor and hungry, researchers say

Plenty more fish in the sea? Not for the poor and hungry, researchers say

ROME, Sept 25 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Swapping fish for meat to help combat climate change risks exacerbating hunger in Africa, from where fish is increasingly exported to wealthy nations instead of providing key vitamins to malnourished local people, experts warned on Wednesday.
Some consumers in rich countries are shunning meat in favour of other forms of protein, including lentils and fish, in order to reduce the amount of planet-warming greenhouse gases emitted by intensive livestock farming.
But popular fish such as sardines and mackerel are sourced from African countries that export most of their nutrient-rich catch instead of selling it to their own populations, said a paper published in the journal Nature.
A shift in diets would "serve to ... worsen the food and nutritional security of already vulnerable people in places such as West Africa, Asia and the Pacific", said Christina Hicks, the paper's lead author.
The global fishing industry is worth $166 billion, and much of the fish on supermarket shelves in Europe and China comes from developing countries such as Namibia and Kiribati, which can export more than 90% of their fish catch.
The study found that across much of the tropics, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, some of the most nutritious species of fish such as anchovies are found in countries where citizens suffer from a lack of essential vitamins and minerals.
Yet "foreign fishing, illegal fishing, subsidies, prices, and trade all act to divert much-needed nutrients away from those in need," said Hicks, a professor at Britain's Lancaster University.
Globally, more than 2 billion people suffer from a deficiency of micronutrients such as iron, zinc, and vitamin A essential for the functioning of human bodies, experts say.
In Namibia, almost the entire population is estimated not to have an adequate intake of vitamin A, while in Mauritania, the same applies to nearly half of its people.
Even a small portion of the catch from their waters could go a long way towards combating malnutrition-related diseases in millions of people within 100 km (60 miles) of the sea, Hicks said.
One way forward is to reform international fishing policies so local governments require companies to divert a small portion of their catch into programmes for malnourished children, Hicks said.
In Mauritania, for example, foreign fishing makes up over 70% of the fish caught, much of which are highly nutritious species but are processed in-country to be used in aquaculture abroad, she said.
Countries could replicate projects under way in Bangladesh and Uganda where fish heads, bones and tails that are usually binned by factories are turned into fish powder that can be added to meals to boost nutrition, Hicks said.
Globally, fish consumption is at an all-time high of 20.2 kg (44.5 lb) per person, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.


Dutch appeals court upholds landmark climate change ruling | Environment | The Guardian

Dutch appeals court upholds landmark climate change ruling | Environment | The Guardian: A court in The Hague has upheld a historic legal order on the Dutch government to accelerate carbon emissions cuts, a day after the world’s climate scientists warned that time was running out to avoid dangerous warming. Appeal court judges ruled that the severity and scope of the climate crisis demanded greenhouse gas reductions of at least 25% by 2020 – measured against 1990 levels – higher than the 17% drop planned by Mark Rutte’s liberal administration. The ruling – which was greeted with whoops and cheers in the courtroom – will put wind in the sails of a raft of similar cases being planned around the world, from Norway to New Zealand and from the UK to Uganda. Marjan Minnesma, the director of the Urgenda campaign which brought the case, called on political leaders to start fighting climate change rather than court actions.


| Human Rights Watch - Nobel Peace Prize to Mukwege and Murad

| Human Rights Watch

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2018 to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.

Discovery of Galileo’s Long-Lost Letter Shows He Edited His Heretical Ideas to Fool the Inquisition | Portside

Discovery of Galileo’s Long-Lost Letter Shows He Edited His Heretical Ideas to Fool the Inquisition | Portside

It had been hiding in plain sight. The original letter — long thought lost — in which Galileo Galilei first set down his arguments against the church’s doctrine that the Sun orbits the Earth has been discovered in a misdated library catalogue in London. Its unearthing and analysis expose critical new details about the saga that led to the astronomer’s condemnation for heresy in 1633.
The seven-page letter, written to a friend on 21 December 1613 and signed “G.G.”, provides the strongest evidence yet that, at the start of his battle with the religious authorities, Galileo actively engaged in damage control and tried to spread a toned-down version of his claims.
Many copies of the letter were made, and two differing versions exist — one that was sent to the Inquisition in Rome and another with less inflammatory language. But because the original letter was assumed to be lost, it wasn’t clear whether incensed clergymen had doctored the letter to strengthen their case for heresy — something Galileo complained about to friends — or whether Galileo wrote the strong version, then decided to soften his own words.
Galileo did the editing, it seems. The newly unearthed letter is dotted with scorings-out and amendments — and handwriting analysis suggests that Galileo wrote it. He shared a copy of this softened version with a friend, claiming it was his original, and urged him to send it to the Vatican.
The letter has been in the Royal Society’s possession for at least 250 years, but escaped the notice of historians. It was rediscovered in the library there by Salvatore Ricciardo, a postdoctoral science historian at the University of Bergamo in Italy, who visited on 2 August for a different purpose, and then browsed the online catalogue.
“I thought, ‘I can’t believe that I have discovered the letter that virtually all Galileo scholars thought to be hopelessly lost,’” says Ricciardo. “It seemed even more incredible because the letter was not in an obscure library, but in the Royal Society library.”...

Galileo wrote the 1613 letter to Benedetto Castelli, a mathematician at the University of Pisa in Italy. In it, Galileo set out for the first time his arguments that scientific research should be free from theological doctrine (see ‘The Galileo affair’).
He argued that the scant references in the Bible to astronomical events should not be taken literally, because scribes had simplified these descriptions so that they could be understood by common people. Religious authorities who argued otherwise, he wrote, didn’t have the competence to judge. Most crucially, he reasoned that the heliocentric model of Earth orbiting the Sun, proposed by Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus 70 years earlier, is not actually incompatible with the Bible.
Galileo, who by then was living in Florence, wrote thousands of letters, many of which are scientific treatises. Copies of the most significant were immediately made by different readers and widely circulated.  His letter to Castelli caused a storm.
Of the two versions known to survive, one is now held in the Vatican Secret Archives. This version was sent to the Inquisition in Rome on 7 February 1615, by a Dominican friar named Niccolò Lorini. Historians know that Castelli then returned Galileo’s 1613 letter to him, and that on 16 February 1615 Galileo wrote to his friend Piero Dini, a cleric in Rome, suggesting that the version Lorini had sent to the Inquisition might have been doctored. Galileo enclosed with that letter a less inflammatory version of the document, which he said was the correct one, and asked Dini to pass it on to Vatican theologians.


Blanket Exercise - Indigenous History. Kings College Circle

The Blanket Exercise is an interactive learning experience that teaches the Indigenous rights history that we were rarely taught. In support of the University of Toronto's commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's recommendation for education on Canadian-Indigenous History as one of the steps to reconciliation, the Blanket Exercise covers 500 years of history in a one and a half hour participatory workshop.

I'll be there, reading part of the exercis.

***STAY UP TO DATE ON ALL MULTI-FAITH CENTRE EVENTS by joining their Facebook Group:

Co-sponsored by the Multi-Faith Centre, Hart House and First Nations House - University of Toronto


| Evidence For Democracy

| Evidence For Democracy
A good cause!  See their current campaign pages.

Evidence for Democracy (E4D) is the leading fact-driven, non-partisan, not-for-profit organization promoting the transparent use of evidence in government decision-making in Canada.
Through research, education and issue campaigns, we engage and empower the science community while cultivating public and political demand for evidence-based decision-making.
Our Work
Our issue-based campaigns tackle emerging issues affecting science and evidence-based public policy in Canada. We work with national and local partners to organize events, raise awareness, and engage the public directly with policy-makers.
Our education program puts knowledge and skills into the hands of Canada’s scientific community and the wider public. We facilitate expert panels, lectures, and documentary screenings to educate Canadians on issues concerning evidence-based decision-making. We also design and deliver original hands-on workshops providing training for communication and action to support science in Canada.
Our original research program addresses knowledge gaps at the interface of policy and evidence. We identify what works, what hasn’t, and what opportunities exist for improvement. Our critical analyses are intended for use by government, industry, NGOs and the public to strengthen the inclusion evidence-based decision-making in policy.

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.   
  • 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.


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.