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Marty Warren Statement for International Human Rights Day, December 10th, 2018.

Each year on December 10th, the United Steelworkers observe International Human Rights Day. The day commemorates the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) by the United Nations.

The recognition of human rights is at the core of Steelworker values and activism. As the Director of District 6, I strongly support human rights internationally, and specifically, for the regions of Canada that District 6 covers. 

This year I would like to highlight the issues of religious hatred and race crimes. Across Canada, and specifically for our members in District 6, it is important that in the next year, our fight for equality must address hatred against Muslim, Jewish and Black populations. Statistics Canada reported that in 2017, Ontario was Canada’s leading province in religious and race crimes. Compared to 2016, these types of crimes grew by 67% last year alone.

When the figures are broken down, I am even more shocked by figures in Ontario. In November, CBC reported that there was a 207 per cent increase of hate crimes against Muslims, an 84 per cent increase in crimes against black people and a 41 percent increase on incidents against Jewish people.

It is not only in large cities that religious and race crimes are being committed. In Hamilton Ontario, there was an increase of 18.3% of incidents ranging from physical attacks, to graffiti, to uttering threats. In London Ontario, these sorts of crimes rose by almost 30 per cent last year.

Clearly, there is much work to do to advance human rights in our district. I urge members to:

  • join with like-minded labour and community allies to stop racial profiling by police
  • create and maintain Human Rights Committees in our locals and units
  • promote and attend Steelworker education workshops in human rights and anti-harassment in the workplace
  • lobby federal, provincial and municipal politicians to bring in equality legislation increasing protections against religious and race hatred

In solidarity,

Marty Warren
Director, District 6

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