December 4, 2008

2008 Human Rights Award Recipients

Recipients of the Human Rights Commitment Award of Manitoba and the Sybil Shack Human Rights Youth Award to be honoured on December 10, 2008

WINNIPEG – On Wednesday December 10, 2008, International Human Rights Day, the Manitoba Human Rights Commission, the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the Manitoba Association for Rights and Liberties will jointly present the Human Rights Commitment Award of Manitoba and the Sybil Shack Human Rights Youth Award at a dinner celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This dinner follows the day-long “Into the Future Human Rights Conference.”

The awards recognize a group or person in Manitoba who has significantly promoted respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. This year’s Human Rights Commitment Award of Manitoba recognizes activities which have promoted the rights of children. The Sybil Shack Human Rights Youth Award acknowledges work that has an impact on the advancement of human rights as guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom and human rights legislation.

The 2008 recipients of the annual Manitoba Human Rights Commitment Award are two individuals who have championed the rights of children with disabilities. They have travelled separate paths but have each, in their own way, made significant contributions.

Yude Henteleff, C.M., Q.C., L.L.D. (Hon) will receive the Human Rights Commitment Award of Manitoba for his more than forty years of human rights advocacy on behalf of special needs children. He has travelled throughout Canada, and the world making presentations about the legal and human rights of special needs children. He has also written widely on the equality rights of these children. He has received numerous honours and awards for his work, and is one of the founders of both the Learning Disabilities Association of Manitoba (LDAM) and the Learning Disabilities Association of Canada (LDAC).

Irene McKay will also receive the Human Rights Commitment Award of Manitoba for her dedicated work to the rights of First Nations children and youth. Mrs. McKay is a Cree woman from the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation. She is a Child Development Specialist for the Children with Lifelong, Complex, Medical Needs, a pilot program of the Awasis Agency of Northern Manitoba. Mrs. McKay has been a champion and advocate for the rights of these children, working tirelessly to establish and maintain appropriate resources within the First Nations community to ensure that children with complex medical needs can return to a loving and nurturing home environment.

The 2008 recipient of the Sybil Shack Memorial Manitoba Human Rights Youth Award is Joe A. Ross School of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation. Students, teachers and principals took Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that everyone has a right to an education, very seriously. Through the encouragement of Principal Derek Fontaine, teachers and students participated by raising money to help orphaned children in Rwanda realize their dream of an education. Staff had money deducted from their pay cheques, while students engaged in fundraising events. The schools they supported increased their enrollment from 50 to over 300 students.

The dinner and award ceremony follows the one-day “Into the Future Human Rights Conference” on Wednesday, December 10th 2008.

There is still space available at the Into the Future Human Rights Conference. The conference will feature keynote speaker Michelle Berg. Michelle has worked in Kosovo, Macedonia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, Central African Republic, and Uganda for a variety of agencies including UNHCR, UNICEF, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the American Refugee Committee, the International Rescue Committee, the Norwegian Refugee Council, and the US Committee for Refugees. Her work in these countries focused on human rights issues, especially with refugees, internally displaced persons, and children- including child soldiers.

The conference will also feature a special video message from Maude Barlow, the New Senior Advisor on Water at the United Nations is also on the agenda. Workshops include: Indigenous Perspectives - Our nations, our environments, our rights; The Technology Gap - the impact of technology and the changing environment on people with disabilities; and Social and Economic Rights - a woman’s burden.

The conference and Awards Dinner take place at the Fort Garry Hotel, from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm. Tickets are $50.00.

To reserve your ticket, visit the Commission’s Website at and click on “Into the Future Human Rights Conference Registration.” Those wishing to attend the dinner only, can register by marking the “dinner only” category.

For more information, please contact
Patricia Knipe
Communications Director