2017 Human Rights Awards

Recipients of the 2017 Nova Scotia Human Rights Awards were honoured at a ceremony today, Dec. 8, at Citadel High School in Halifax.

Each year, the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission recognizes Nova Scotians nominated by their peers for work in the field of human rights, social justice and advocacy. 

This year is particularly special, given it is the commission’s 50th anniversary – the organization was established in 1967. The theme of the 50th anniversary is “Learning from our past, building for our future.”

“We’ve come a long way since 1967, and we recognize that more progress is needed to ensure respect for human rights. This can only be realized in partnership with Nova Scotians,” said Christine Hanson, commission director and CEO. “We are fortunate to live in a province where we not only have human rights protections in law, but we also have passionate and engaged people like the individuals and organizations we honoured today.” 

The following are recipients: 
Youth Award:
— Joshua Cochrane, 11, Yarmouth, honoured for his work to foster an inclusive environment for persons with disabilities

Dr. Burnley Allan “Rocky” Jones Individual Award:
— Angela Simmonds, Cherry Brook, Halifax Regional Municipality, recognized for her commitment to human rights by helping African Nova Scotian communities to obtain titles to their land
— Nicole Doria, Halifax, a recent graduate of Dalhousie University, honoured for her commitment to promoting human rights in support of the health of Indigenous peoples
— Wade Smith, Halifax, recognized posthumously for his leadership in human rights, inclusive education and community mentorship 

Group/Organization Award:
— Syria-Antigonish Families Embrace, a group in Antigonish recognized for its work to promote human rights by resettling Syrian refugee families
— Bill 59 Community Alliance, recognized for its advocacy for the rights of persons with disabilities throughout the province
— Women’s Wellness Within, Halifax, recognized for its work to promote the rights of incarcerated and criminalized women and their children 

“We can all play a role in advancing human rights,” said Ms. Hanson. “Wade Smith’s legacy is a testament to how one individual can make a positive impact and inspire many in their own way.” 

Along with the award presentations, the event included a reception, African drumming and musical performances. It was held in advance of the United Nations’ International Human Rights Day on Sunday, Dec. 10.

For more information on the awards and for bios of the recipients, visit humanrights.novascotia.ca.