TRUFA Human Rights Committee: Annual Report for the TRUFA 2017 Annual General Meeting
The TRUFA Human Right Committee (HRC) is dedicated to the protection of your rights, your colleagues’ rights, your neighbour’s rights, and the human rights of people in the rest of the world – people whose rights either are ignored or are deliberately abused by oppressive governments.
As one example of how the HRC works in this capacity, we asked TRU faculty to sign a petition calling on the government of Iran to allow Professor Homa Hoodfar, arrested without charge in June 2016, to return to Canada. We also sent our own letter to the Iranian government, and likewise called upon the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators (FPSE) to do the same, which it did. Prof. Hoodfar was released in September 2016.
The Chair of the HRC (or designate) also attends regular meetings of FPSE’s Human Rights & International Solidarity Committee as well as the FPSE Annual General Meeting (AGM) in May. At the May 2016 FPSE AGM, we proposed a resolution to have FPSE support Indigenous self-determination and hold the Canadian federal government to its obligations under the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and other international agreements. FPSE has initiated the preparation and publication of a handbook for all FPSE members describing the legacy of colonization and providing ways that educators could live up to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. This handbook would be the first step in the larger campaign of promoting Indigenous rights.
The TRUFA HRC has hosted and supported many events and speakers over the past 12 months. Following is a synopsis of these events. We make every effort to make the events accessible to faculty in Williams Lake.
- April 20, 2016: “Keep the Peace” event with Treaty 8 First Nations regarding negative effects of Site C Dam on the Peace and Peoples living there. Julian Napoleon of the Saulteau First Nation spoke in Kamloops.
- May 2-5, 2016: TRUFA HRC representative Cindy Ross Friedman attended all four days of Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation (SSN) Panel Hearing on the Proposed KGHM-Ajax Mine, at which Prof. Nicole Schabus also presented on the UNDRIP and its relevance to the SSN’s review process. The SSN process assessed the project using SSN laws and governance as well as Western science, and included assessments that respected SSN cultural perspectives, knowledge and history. The SSN Review Panel included Chief and Councils, family appointed representatives, elders, youth and knowledge keepers.
- October 6, 2016: “Clayoquot Sound of Freedom”. Dan Lewis and Bonny Glambeck presented a lively multimedia journey through the visually stunning landscape, wildlife and culture of Clayoquot Sound—Vancouver Island’s Last Great Rainforest.
- October 12, 2016: “I’m Right and You’re an Idiot—The Toxic State of Public Discourse” with James Hogan, Chair of the David Suzuki Foundation and founder of the influential website DeSmogBlog.
- October 13, 2016: “The Advocacy Trap” Breakfast with James Hoggan and local environmentalists.
- October 13, 2016: “Foreign Funded Radicals” with James Hoggan.
- November 2, 2016: “Standing with Standing Rock” Potluck Feast and Report from all the Secwepemc who have been to Standing Rock.
- November 17, 2016: Public forum on the threats from Site C, fracking, the Kinder Morgan pipeline and the Ajax mine with Ana Simeon on Site C (RAVEN), Matt Campbell on Site C ( TRU Law Student), Dan Hines (Green Party), Charles Hays on Kinder Morgan (TRU Faculty), and Denis Walsh with Donovan Cavers on Ajax ( Kamloops City Councilors).
- February 2, 2017: “Blood of Extraction: Canadian Imperialism in Latin America” with author Jeff Webber.
- February 4 – February 11, 2017 “Human Rights and Environment Week”. In addition to the speaking events organized by TRUSU: Naomi Klein on Feb 7; and Code Blue: David Suzuki on Feb. 8, HRC sponsored:
- February 4, 2017: Screening of “Life is Sacred” http://lifeissacred-film.com/ followed by a post-film discussion with Chimera Theatre’s Artistic Director Andrew G. Cooper, Dr. George M. Johnson and Education Professor Dr. Gloria Ramirez
- February 6, 2017: “Indigenous Land and Water Defenders North and South of the Medicine Line, from Standing Rock to Secwepemcul’ecw”. In addition to Chase Iron Eyes, the panel of Indigenous Land & Water Protectors who will speak on pipeline resistance included Russell Diabo, Tia Oros Peters, Clayton Thomas-Muller, Dr. Janice Billy, Kanahius Manuel, and Melina Laboucon-Massimo. An Indian taco feast was shared among the 150+ attendees.
- TRUFA Human Rights Committee members also participated in a 2 day closed door planning session on pipeline resistance from the tarsands to South of the medicine line. We also participated in a ceremony by the Thompson River where the Transmountain Pipleline crosses under the River and were recognized at Naomi Klein’s public talk on Feb. 7, 2017.
- 8, 2017: TRUFA Human Rights Committee executive members participated in the organizing of the Code Blue talk of David Suzuki, and our contribution was recognized at the event.
- February 10, 2017: “Public Forum on Air Pollution” with Dr. Michael Mehta. Prospective MLAs gave their perspectives on various air quality issues and their was a demonstration of Kamloops’ new air quality network “Purple Air”.
- February 8-11, 2017. Debut of “Mockus”, a play by Dr. George M. Johnson. The work is a thrilling tale based on true events of a mayor desperate to save his city and the clown who inspires him through a world of imagination.
- 16: Monia Mazigh presented her novel Hope Has Two Daughters
- April 1, 2017. TRUFA HRC declared its support for the SSN decision in which the SSN does not give its free, prior, and informed consent to the proposed Ajax Mine in Kamloops. A representative from the HRC (Cindy Ross Friedman) signed a declaration of support at a historic public event at the Barber Centre.
- April 11, 2017. “Boiling Point: Government Neglect, Corporate Abuse and Canada’s Water Crisis” with author Maude Barlow (Council of Canadians), Sunny LeBourdais (SSN), and Shawna-Rae McLean (TRU Model United Nations).
We anticipate another busy year of activism, and look forward to supporting Human Rights in Secwepemcúl’ecw.
Nicole Schabus Cynthia Ross Friedman Derek Cook
Chair, TRUFA HRC Vice-Chair, TRUFA HRC Member-at-Large, TRUFA HRC