Monday, December 13, 2021

World Human Rights Day: Canadian High Commission Reveals Recipients of Irwin Cotler Award




Irwin Cotler, 81, is a retired Canadian politician who was a Member of Parliament for Mount Royal from 1999 to 2015. He served as the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada from 2003 until the liberal government of Paul Martin lost power following the 2006 federal election.


According to the Canadian High Commissioner, H.E Richard Bale, Irwin Cotler is the best known human rights responder, who has acted as counsel for many prominent individuals across the world including Nelson Mandela.


"There are 2 sets of criteria; one is specific to the individual and their achievements. We look for human rights defenders who have distinguished themselves by their courageousness and effectiveness as human rights defenders."

"At the same time we seek a balance; we identified one man, one woman; one Anglophone, one francophone from the Far North and from the Northwest region. We believe it's important to reward and encourage them given the work they do in such difficult context", Canadian High Commission, H.E Richard Bale.


It was also revealed on Human Rights Day at the official residence of Canada in Yaoundé that last year Irwin Cotler agreed that his name should be used for the 2021 awards in Cameroon, on World Human Rights Day.

Celebrating Work Human Rights' day, was a date chosen to honor the United Nations General Assembly's adoption and proclamation, on 10 December 1948, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the first global enunciation of human rights and one of the first major achievements of the new United Nations.

The theme for Human Rights Day 2021 is "Reducing inequalities and Advancing human rights". Human Rights Day 2021 is observed on December 10, every year.

In 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which is a milestone document that proclaims rights that everyone is entitled to, as a human being, regardless of their race, color, religion, sex, language, political, national, origin and birth.


On this day that also ends 16 days of activism against Gender-Based Violence, the Canadian High Commission in Yaoundé awards to associations; English and French working at the local levels advocating for the rights of persons who are vulnerable; either in times of a crisis or natural disasters.



Bibiana Dighambong, CEO of Bihndumlem Humanitarian Foundation for Peace and Hope- BIHAPH and Mohamadou Bachirou Sale from the Far North, recieved the Irwin Cotler Award for being one of the grassroots NGOs that advocates for those vulnerable in times of crisis or disaster.

"Why I think I merit this award is based on the extremely difficult work the team have been doing before and during the crisis in the Northwest region, precisely in the rural communities where the crisis is escalating"


"Our job has been to go to the communities where no one is able to go there, where the violence is escalating and hidden from the rest of the world. We go there to see the women, children who are affected, who live beyond the barest margin and we bring their pain to the rest of the world" Bibiana Dighambong, CEO BIHAPH.

Irwin Cotler was born on May 8, 1940, in Montreal, Canada with a Canadian Nationality.



By Ndefru Melanie
678415536
ndefrumelany@gmail.com
    

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