For Immediate Release:
December 9, 2008

Human Rights Conference December 10

Conference looks to future human rights protections

Keynote speaker Michelle Berg speaks on the next generation of human rights

International human rights worker Michelle Berg looks to the future of human rights protections in her key note address at the “Into the Future” Human Rights Conference in Winnipeg, on December 10th, 2008 at the Fort Garry Hotel.

Michelle Berg is an International Human Rights Worker and Director of Programming for War Child Canada. Born in Winnipeg, she started her career as a lawyer in Ottawa practicing refugee and family law. Ms. Berg has extensive legal experience in the international field, which includes working with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in northern Uganda, and in the Central African Republic, and for UNICEF as a Senior Child Protection Officer in Khartoum, Sudan. She has also has worked with the American Refugee Committee in Macedonia, Norwegian Refugee Council in south Sudan, as well as with the International Rescue Committee in Darfur, as Protection Coordinator. Her work has also taken her to Macedonia, Slovenia, Kosovo, Bosnia, and Nigeria as an elections supervisor, and Rwanda (Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights) and Kosovo as a human rights advisor.

Currently, Ms Berg works at War Child Canada, a Canadian charity, which is dedicated to providing urgently needed humanitarian assistance to war-affected children around the world.

The Into the Future Conference celebrates the 60th Anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Conference speakers and workshops will look back at this historic document and reflect on its influence locally, nationally and internationally and then cast an eye to the future of human rights.

Should we have the right to water or a clean environment?
Maude Barlow, who was also to speak at the conference, will instead bring greetings via a video, which includes her message on the Right to Water. Ms Barlow has recently accepted a position with the United Nations as its first Senior Advisor on water and will be beginning her new appointment on December 10th.

Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Winnipeg Dr. Lloyd Axworthy will deliver the opening keynote address titled Human Rights – Our Past Our Future.

Afternoon workshops include:

  • Social and Economic Rights-a woman’s burden
  • Indigenous Perspectives-Our nations, our environments, our rights, and The Technology Gap-the impact of technology and the changing environment on people with disabilities

Manitobans honoured for human rights work

The conference will conclude with the 2008 Human Rights Awards dinner from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm, honouring this year’s recipients of the Human Rights Commitment Award of Manitoba and the Sybil Shack Human Rights Youth Award.

The 2008 Human Rights Commitment Award will be presented to Yude Henteleff of Winnipeg and Irene McKay of Thompson. The Sybil Shack Human Rights Youth Award recipient is Joe A. Ross School of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation.

The conference and awards dinner is presented in partnership by the Manitoba Human Rights Commission, The Canadian Human Rights Commission and the Manitoba Association for Rights and Liberties.

For more information please contact
Patricia Knipe
Manitoba Human Rights Commission