A message from Indira Naidoo-Harris, AVP, Diversity and Human Rights

On December 10, 1948, the United Nations came together and established the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They resolved that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and the security of person.” This was a monumental step forward  for people all around the world and was a recognition of the importance of acceptance, inclusion and creating a society where everyone has a sense of belonging. Today, 75 years after that cold December day, we celebrate International Human Rights Day and continue to protect and advocate for human rights especially in the face of current challenges.  

Human Rights build the foundation for a free, just, and peaceful world, and sets the standards for how all of us deserve to be treated. By establishing human rights, we create individual, systemic, and societal responsibilities to uphold the rights of others and to support those whose rights are abused or denied. Human Rights empower all of us by giving all of us a framework for action, when those standards are not met.

This year’s theme, Freedom, Equality and Justice for All reminds us of our collective responsibility to uphold human rights and work together to ensure that everyone is treated with dignity and respect. The last few years have presented our global family with some of the most challenging and complex issues of our time. These difficulties have made the recognition and respect for human rights more important than ever.

At the University of Guelph, we foster a campus of equity and inclusion where diversity is celebrated and everyone is welcome. Because we know that diversity is what makes our U of G community strong, vibrant and unique. However, we recognize there is always more work to do and it takes all of us working together. In recognition of the role human rights play within our communities, the Office of Diversity and Human Rights has developed a new online training module dedicated to human rights at U of G and beyond. In addition, I invite U of G members to review our Human Rights Policy and Procedures, our Multi-Year Accessibility Plans, our Anti-Racism Action Plan, and related training and education offerings.

Join me today in learning more about International Human Rights Day and how we can all work together to create a University community where everyone feels safe, welcome, and like they belong.

Indira Naidoo-Harris

AVP, Diversity and Human Rights