SASKATOON – Issues of torture, sexual diversity, the migrant crisis and reconciliation with Indigenous Canadians were all discussed Saturday at the fourth annual Amnesty International conference in Saskatoon.
“Our role is to connect people across the province,” said Crystal Giesbrecht, Amnesty International field worker.
U of S will host forum to examine how universities can respond to TRC
‘Canada saved 7 people’s lives:’ Saskatoon home to Syrian refugees
“A point of having this conference here today is to get people out to educate about human rights and even more importantly to inspire people to get involved and give people ideas of things they can do in their community.”
READ MORE: Group raises awareness with a mock refugee camp on U of S campus
Almost 100 people from across Saskatchewan attended the provincial conference on the U of S campus. This year’s theme – Get Active with Amnesty.
The conference provides the community with opportunities to learn about current human rights issues and encourage activism.
“What I like the most is you can take action on what matters to you. There is such a breath of work that Amnesty is involved in,” said Giesbrecht. “If indigenous issues are your interest or women’s human rights or LGBT rights. There’s so many things you can get involved in.”
“I think it opens their eyes to things they would miss otherwise. I’m a white male and sometimes I get stuck in that. Learning about other cultures and experiencing the other cultures opens me up,” said participant Nat Bergbusch.
After the federal election, a majority of the discussions surrounded how to hold newly elected prime minister-designate Justin Trudeau accountable to advance human rights in Canada.
“I think that number one is the Syrian refugee crisis. We want to see the government doing more. Make it easier for refugees to come to Canada. We think there are a number of things that they can do in that regard,” said Amnesty International board member Bill Rafoss.
Organizers hope the conference grows each year as more people share an interest in defending and promoting human rights at home in Saskatchewan and around the world.