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Montreal chapter at Rights City events for Indigenous rights, anti-racism & genocide prevention

“A conversation with human rights champions” at Concordia University on May 26 featured Roméo Dallaire (retired senator and general), and Irwin Cotler (former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada). Photo by Abdul Pirani.

The Council of Canadians Montreal chapter took part in “Rights City/Montréal, ville des droits humains” events on May 26-27.

The events were organized by the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies at Concordia University, Amnesty International, the Armenian National Committee of Québec ,and the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights.

A media release notes, “Rights City/Montréal consists of three core activities: a conference at Concordia University held yesterday May 26, the 3rd Annual March for Humanity and Genocide Prevention on May 27 at 12:30pm, and that evening, Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award ceremony where co-recipients Alicia Keys and the Indigenous rights movement in Canada will be honoured.”

The Montreal Gazette reports that recording artist Keys, a Grammy award winner, was presented Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2017 co-founding ‘Keep A Child Alive’ (that provides treatment and care to children and families affected by HIV in Africa and India), co-founding ‘We Are Here Movement (to encourage young people to mobilize for social change on issues such as gun control and criminal justice), and for bringing attention to the plight of global refugees through music and film.

Keys said, “There is so much discrimination and there so much institutionalized racism and that’s here and it’s in America,. And no matter where you go it seems like the native indigenous original people tend to be the most disregarded. And it’s absolutely intolerable and complete unacceptable. Y’all know in my own country it’s a mess.”

The newspaper adds, “Keys was honoured along with six individuals involved in the indigenous rights movement in Canada. The honourees were Cindy Blackstock, Delilah Saunders, Melanie Morrison, Senator Murray Sinclair, Melissa Mollen Dupuis and Widia Larivière. Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s secretary general, praised the work of those who’ve fought to bring justice and end discrimination of Canada’s indigenous people. Shetty also implored Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to do more for Canada’s First Nations.”

The Canadian Press notes, “On hand to accept the award were Quebec Idle No More founders Melissa Dupuis and Widia Lariviere, Inuk writer Delilah Saunders and activist Melanie Morrison.”

That article highlights, “Morrison, who has been a leader in the push for a national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women, said she was deeply touched to receive the award. Morrison said she hoped the award would pressure the Canadian government to ‘follow through on their promises to indigenous people’ and act on issues such as problematic policing, the need for clean water on reserves and the lack of progress on the national inquiry.”

To watch a video of yesterday’s march against genocide, please click here.