Nova Scotia Human Rights Week

Celebrating Together

In early December each year Nova Scotians are invited to reflect on human rights coinciding with several commemorative dates:

  • December 3, International Day of Persons with Disabilities
  • December 6, National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women
  • December 10, International Human Rights Day

These dates are among many opportunities throughout the year for us to reflect on significant human rights issues and commit to action to ensure the inherent dignity of all people is preserved and protected.

The Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission’s work to promote and protect human rights is part of a larger system of human rights defenses in this province that advance equity and promotes human dignity as central to the ways we address complex issues..

December 10, 2023, marks 75 years since the Universal Declaration on Human Rights was adopted in the wake of World War 2 becoming a foundation for human rights laws in countries and regions globally. In honour of this milestone the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission is inviting Nova Scotians to join us in celebrating Nova Scotia Human Rights Week December 3 – 10. There are many ways you can get involved. Event details will be listed below as they are confirmed.

December 1 – 10: Human Rights On Screen

In partnership with the Atlantic International Film Festival

From December 1 – 10 Nova Scotians are invited to watch the film Dawn, Her Dad & the Tractor for free online. We encourage you to reflect on some viewing questions and consider the role film can play in public dialogue on important human rights issues.

About the film

"Set on a Nova Scotia dairy farm, John Andrew has just lost his wife Miranda to cancer. When a young woman with a startling resemblance to Miranda appears on his porch, an odyssey towards understanding begins. John Andrew’s estranged son Donald is now Dawn, and she’s come home to mourn her mother and keep her promise to repair her relationship with her Dad. Restoring the tractor her mother learned to drive on becomes a focus for the mechanically minded Dawn. John Andrew begins to realize that if he’s to reclaim this relationship, he has to come out with Dawn, and what better setting than the community tractor trials — an event Miranda created as a tireless village volunteer — where he proudly cheers for his daughter Dawn, as she enters the arena at the wheel of the lovingly restored tractor."

Viewing the film is easy:

Enjoy the trailer below.

December 4: Housing and Human Rights Panel

7:00 - 8:30 p.m. AT via Zoom
What role do human rights play in Canada’s national housing crisis? Tune in for a virtual panel discussion with Nova Scotians working to find housing solutions for unhoused people. A representative from the Office of Canada’s Federal Housing Advocate will provide context and insights from the Advocate’s recent interim report on housing encampments in Canada.

December 7: Trans Representation in Film Panel

12:00-1:30 p.m. AT via Zoom
Join film maker Shelley Thompson (Dawn, Her Dad & the Tractor), Brody Weaver (Youth Project), and Marley O'Brien (Artist), to discuss how transgender representation in film can help to advance understanding and offer an opportunity to unpack assumptions and misconceptions.

December 8: 2023 Nova Scotia Human Rights Awards Presentation

Each year on or around International Human Rights Day the Commission recognizes our province’s human rights champions through the presentation of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Awards. This year’s awards will be presented on December 8 beginning at 2:00 p.m. in Paul O’Regan Hall at the Halifax Central Library.Event recording below.

December 10: Imagining the Future of Human Rights Through Two-Eyed Seeing

2:00 - 3:30 p.m. AT via Zoom
How could the legal foundation of 75 years of human rights law and thousands of years of historic and traditional Indigenous knowledge be considered together to evolve a more holistic approach to human rights in the context of our natural environment and ways of being? Tune in to this online discussion between John R. Sylliboy (Executive Director of the Wabanaki Two-Spirit Alliance), Tuma Young (Two-Spirit L'nu lawyer), and  Joseph Fraser (Commission CEO), and imagine how the next 75 years of human rights could be shaped through the application of an Etuaptmumk (“two-eyed seeing”) perspective.

Other Events