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Speech delivered by CMHR President and CEO Stuart Murray during a Press conference at Ecole St. Avila in Winnipeg, May 8, 2013

News release details

Good morning and thank you for joining us. I would also like to thank principal Gord Campbell for welcoming us all into his school, where human rights have a very important role. It is wonderful to be here with these children, who are spending time learning about human rights and the UN Rights of the Child – and doing so in some very creative ways.

Merci d'être présent ce matin. Je suis content de pouvoir vous partager des nouvelles sur les droits de la personne.

I am pleased to be here with our partners from the Canadian Teachers Federation to release the results of a very important national teacher survey about human rights education.

Education is the heart and soul of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. It is the most powerful tool we have in the ongoing global struggle for human rights.

Canadian children need to grow up with a strong understanding of the importance of human rights. Young people have an innate sense of fairness and compassion for their fellow human beings. Education is the key for turning that natural empathy into lifelong support for human rights.

We are building more than a museum here in Winnipeg. We are also helping to build global citizens who care for humanity. We're building this Museum for our children and grandchildren, to help them understand the value of human rights. Their passion to improve the world is our hope for the future.

Canada's teachers are well aware of that fact. That's why they care so deeply about human rights. You will see the evidence of that passion in the survey results we're releasing today.
Human rights are not only part of History, English, French and Social Studies. They are part of our lives. They help shape the kind of people we become. They are part of what happens in the classroom and out on the playground, places where children regularly encounter issues around bullying, racism, gender, ability, and sexual orientation.
Canadian teachers are on the front lines of human rights. And we want to help them. We plan to do this in many ways. Our first step has been to partner with the CTF to create an unprecedented national teacher toolkit of teacher-tested resources on human rights that have been successfully used from coast to coast. We hope it will become a trusted source of information and ideas for educators at all grade levels. Today's survey results paint a vivid picture of how badly it's needed.
The Museum and the CTF are partnering with the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights to offer a national K-12 initiative called "Canadian Defenders of Human Rights," an adaptation of an acclaimed international resourced called "Speak Truth to Power".
We believe these initiatives will herald a new era in the way Canadian students learn about human rights.
After our doors open in 2014, as a national hub for human-rights learning, we expect to welcome thousands of school class visits. We are prepared to offer them a rich experience in French or in English.
Quand nos portes ouvriront en 2014, le Musée sera un véritable centre national d'apprentissage au sujet des droits de la personne. Les élèves qui visiteront le Musée auront une expérience entièrement bilingue.
In our Museum, students with disabilities will discover an accessible and inclusive environment of discovery and learning. Children at all grade levels will be greeted with age-appropriate programs. We also will be offering a national students' program that will ultimately bring thousands of students a year to Winnipeg from across Canada and around the world.
But all the students in Canada will not be able to visit our new national museum. Our work with teachers is one of the ways we can bring the museum to them. Our goal is to facilitate dialogue, discussion and learning about human rights, in whatever ways we can.
Teachers share those goals. They are our natural partners. We look forward to an ongoing relationship. Together, we will work to encourage respect and dignity, freedom and rights for every single human being on this planet. That starts – as most things do – with our children.
Thank you, merci, and I now ask Paul Taillefer, the president of the Canadian Teachers Federation, to share the results of our survey.