Advocating for Human Rights at Vancouver College & St. Thomas More
Michelle Rapier, Vancouver College
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all UN Member States. Each member state is reviewed approximately every 4 1/2 years. Canada is up for its Universal Periodic Review in November of 2023.
As part of the process, non-governmental organizations are permitted to submit reports evaluating the human rights situation in a particular country and offer recommendations for improvement to that country. Edmund Rice International is one such NGO that provides these civil society reports to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in advance of a country’s Universal Periodic Review.
Students from the 2 Canadian schools within the Edmund Rice Network, Vancouver College (Vancouver, BC) and St. Thomas More Collegiate (Burnaby, BC) had the opportunity to collaborate and prepare the civil society report on behalf of Edmund Rice International. They chose to focus on 2 main issues that affect Canada’s Indigenous People living in the remote North: the right to access clean drinking water and the right to food security.
This was an excellent experiential learning opportunity to learn about the mechanisms of the Human Rights Commission and to engage in the process of advocating for Human Rights improvements in our own country.
Br. Rice, Michigan (Thane Hall)
Students in Brother Rice’s Human Rights Club had the opportunity to travel to Lansing to advocate for the Drive Safe Bill. This bill would reinstate the ability for refugees & immigrants to be given the ability to obtain a Driver's License so they could have the ability to do important activities such as go to a doctor appointment, get groceries, or make it to work.
Iona Preparatory (Morgan Falvey)
Three junior students at Iona Preparatory are running as a 2023 Westchester – Fairfield Student Visionaries of the Year team! Their team is running because they hope to improve the lives of anyone suffering from blood cancers, and know that research conducted on blood cancers can lead to substantial discoveries. They also hope to spread awareness about blood cancers and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. They have been working towards reaching this goal through school-wide bake sales, ice cream socials, and advertising at sporting events. Their goal is to raise $50,000 to support blood cancer research and improve the lives of the patients and families affected by blood cancers.