March 18, 2011

The Manitoba Human Rights Commission acknowledges Elimination of Racism Day with a new human rights teaching tool

In recognition of March 21, Elimination of Racism Day, the Manitoba Human Rights Commission is pleased to announce the launch of a new website designed for students and teachers.

The site, Manitoba Class Action, is based on a book by Human Rights Consultant Stephen Hammond called Steps in the Rights Direction. This book chronicles past Canadian and international human rights events, one for every day of the year.

"Many students have been involved in putting this site together," says Pam Roberts, a human rights investigator and one of the Commission's youth conference coordinators, adding, "When you are on the site you will watch a student read about a specific event that happened on that day in the past." There are also questions, background information, links to the Manitoba Human Rights Commission's website, other sites of interest and specific social networking sites for those interested in discussing the human rights issue with others.

For example, one student explains the event that took place on February 26, 1942. That was the date when the Canadian Minister of Justice ordered the removal of all people of "the Japanese race" from the "protected area" of the Pacific coastline.

This is considered to be one of the most appalling examples of human rights violations in Canadian history. Japanese Canadians were stripped of all of their property and condemned to live in internment camps for 4 years. Many years later the Government of Canada and the National Association of Japanese Canadians signed the Japanese Canadian Redress Agreement, which acknowledged that the treatment of Japanese Canadians during and after World War II was unjust and violated principles of human rights.

This is one of the many human rights stories on the website that deals with the issue of racism. A lesser known, but very similar story is the mistreatment of Italian Canadians and the apology they received on November 4, 1990. Another Canadian human rights event is the Royal Assent of the Chinese Immigration Act on June 30, 1942 which allowed the Government to bar immigrants of Chinese descent from entering Canada. In total the Manitoba Class Action Website has 52 events, one for every week of the year.

Manitoba Class Action, at is designed for students who have an interest in human rights as well as teachers who are looking for a catalyst for class discussions and a tool for human rights education. "The general public will also find it an interesting and informative human rights site," says Ms Roberts.

Stephen Hammond is a lawyer and workplace consultant. He is also the author of Managing Human Rights at Work: 101 Practical Tips to Prevent Human Rights Disasters The Manitoba Human Rights Commission and Mr. Hammond have forged a partnership to create this on-line project.

For more information, contact

Patricia Knipe
Communications Director
204-945-5112 (Winnipeg)