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Defenders for Human Rights

Other Human Rights Defenders

The purpose of Speak Truth to Power Canada is to share the personal journeys of some of the many Canadian human rights defenders working today. As lesson plans are thematic and many Canadians assume the responsibility to advance human rights, every lesson plan also includes community-based defenders. It is hoped that your students may be inspired to identify themselves as human rights defenders and take positive action to support human rights in their own life and community. Perhaps your students will become community defenders themselves.

Samantha Nutt

Samantha Nutt founded War Child Canada in 1999. Having seen the vulnerability of children and families in war-torn countries, Somalia in particular when she was 25, Nutt sought a grassroots approach to humanitarian need. Over more than 15 years, the project has grown from one young doctor – Nutt – to a major internationally recognized organization, largely due to major support from Canadian international musicians. Drawn to medicine by her interest in humanity, Nutt’s goal is to build communities until her own work is unnecessary – to work with local groups until War Child becomes obsolete. Nutt has become one of Canada’s leading and most outspoken voices on the effect of war on women and children, and has received both the Order of Canada and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of her work.

  • Crimes Against Humanity
  • Displacement to Activism

Elizabeth Fry Societies

The Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies works to support women who are either in the criminal justice system or at risk of becoming so. Elizabeth Fry, an English Quaker who worked in the 19th century to support women incarcerated in poorhouses, inspires the societies. Across Canada, 24 self-governing, community-based member societies provide research and programming, which includes counselling, reintegration, and court support. First founded in 1939 by Member of Parliament Agnes Macphail, the societies function under a number of principles, including justice, confidentiality, reality, and honesty. As well as supporting at-risk women, the societies work to educate the public about the issues at-risk women face.

  • Crimes Against Humanity

Roméo Dallaire

A retired lieutenant general and senator, Roméo Dallaire is known around the world for his leadership in the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda in 1993 and 1994. Through his attempts to end the killings of Tutsis and Hutu moderates, he witnessed the horrors of the genocide first hand. What he saw left him with severe posttraumatic stress disorder that ended his military career. It also left him with determination to make a change in genocide prevention and the lives of those affected by war. He founded the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative, which works to end child participation in war, and co-created the Will to Intervene Project, which researches and promotes ways to prevent genocide.

  • Crimes Against Humanity
  • Displacement to Activism