2011 Rights and Freedoms Prize - The Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse to honour the Wapikoni Mobile

MONTREALOct. 13, 2011 /CNW Telbec/ - The Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse is pleased to announce that the Wapikoni Mobile will be awarded the 2011 Rights and Freedoms Prize in recognition of its commitment to defend human rights and the rights of youth during a ceremony to be held on December 8, in Montréal.

The Commission will also present an honourable mention to human rights activist Lucie Lemonde and to the QuebecAssociation for Community Living (Association du Québec pour l'intégration sociale) as well as celebrate the 35thanniversary of the coming into force of the Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.

"Jury members chose to honour these three submissions because they all demonstrated their leadership and commitment to defend human rights," said Gaétan Cousineau, president of the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse.

The mission of the Wapikoni Mobile is to give young Aboriginals the opportunity to express themselves through video and music productions. This project was created in 2004, by filmmaker Manon Barbeau and co-founded by the Conseil de la Nation Atikamekw and the Youth Council of the First Nations of Québec and Labrador.

Since its creation, the mobile studios have visited 19 First Nations communities and reached more than 2,000 participants in seven nations. The youth have created 350 music productions and 450 short films in ancestral languages, French or English, many of which have been sub-titled in Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Mandarin.

While encouraging the emergence of new talents, the Wapikoni Mobile facilitates exchanges and communications between Aboriginal youth and helps to open them up to the world. It also gives them the opportunity to be involved in a project in a different environment, all the while allowing them to become better known in their own communities and elsewhere.

The Commission is disappointed that, earlier this year, Service Canada abruptly announced its decision not to renew its $500,000 subsidy, which threatens the future of a number of the Wapikoni Mobile's activities.

Honourable mentions

The Commission will also award an honorable mention to Lucie Lemonde and the Quebec Association for Community Living.

Human rights activist and professor at the Department of juridical sciences at UQAM, Lucie Lemonde has an exceptional academic and professional background. Her work as a lawyer and her theoretical research have had a major impact on the prisoners' rights movement. Over the course of her career, she was president of the Ligue des droits et libertés, as well as vice-president of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH).

The Québec Association for Community Living will be awarded an honourable mention for its long-term commitment to the defence of people who have an intellectual disability. Among its many accomplishments was the establishment of a charter of values reflecting the needs of people who have an intellectual disability and the organization of its annual flagship awareness-raising activity, the Quebec Week for Intellectual disability.

The jury was chaired by Gaétan Cousineau, president of the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse, and composed of François Bugingo, a well-known media personality and former president of Reporters without Borders Canada, as well as Monique Rochon, one the first employees of the Commission who recently retired after 35 years of service. It reviewed 25 submissions that clearly demonstrated the strong commitment of an increasing number of Québec groups and individuals who work to defend human rights and the rights of youth.

The Rights and Freedoms Prize

Since 1998, the Commission has awarded the Rights and Freedoms Prize annually to mark the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948. It recognizes the exceptional achievement or commitment of individuals or groups working to defend human rights and of the rights of youth.

For further information:

Julie Lajoye
514 873-5146 or 1 800 361-6477 ext. 230
julie.lajoye@cdpdj.qc.ca

For further information:

Julie Lajoye
514 873-5146 or 1 800 361-6477 ext. 230
julie.lajoye@cdpdj.qc.ca