The United Nations Association in Canada (Vancouver Branch) was pleased to sponsor a film at the 2017 DOXA Documentary Film Festival.
Photo of UNA Vancouver taken by Tara Flynn Development Manager, Doxa Documentary Film Festival
The screening of “Complicit” was held at VIFF’s VanCity Theatre on Saturday, May 6, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. The screening was well-attended, and the audience was clearly engaged in the issues presented in the film.
One of the highlights of the 2017 edition of the DOXA Festival is the Spotlight on Troublemakers, which celebrates courageous dissent in difficult circumstances. Our sponsored film provides an incredible first-hand look at the frontlines of China’s labour movement. It shines a light on the global electronic manufacturing industry in China, where 90% of the world’s consumer electronics are produced.
The featured activists are committed to taking on some of the world’s largest corporations, and they speak openly about abysmal working conditions. Young people work in buildings with poor ventilation, and handle chemicals which have been banned in industrialized Western countries for more than 40 years. Corruption and obstruction run deep, as workers struggle to deal with diagnosis and treatment of occupational diseases, many leading to serious illness or death
“Complicit” was also included in the festival’s Justice Forum, so it was followed by a thought-provoking question and answer session led by two guest speakers. Cathy Walker is the former National Health and Safety Director of the CAW (Canadian Auto Workers Union) now UNIFOR. She has worked on China-related projects for the Canadian Labour Congress, the Vancouver & District Labour Council, and the BC Federation of Labour. Fiona Koza is a Business and Human Rights Campaigner at Amnesty International Canada. She works to hold companies accountable for human rights abuses and to ensure access to remedies for people who have been harmed.
The afternoon concluded with informal discussions with audience members who visited the UNAC information table in the lobby of the theatre.
We extend our thanks to our two guest speakers, and to all DOXA staff and volunteers for making this year’s festival such a success. We look forward to working together again next year!
UNA-Vancouver is sponsoring the May 6th screening of Complicit, a documentary film about the detrimental health effects involved in the global electronics manufacturing industry in China. Complicit is part of the festival’s Justice Forum; thus, it will host a Q&A after the screening. Directed by Heather White and Lynn Zhang, they aim:
to shine a light on what it’s really like for Foxconn factory workers, who produce devices for Apple and other companies.
The film, which was mostly shot undercover, follows Yi Yeting, a former Foxconn employee who was diagnosed with leukemia at the young age of 24. The cause? Benzene poisoning from a cleaning agent that was used while making the iPhone and iPad. Apple banned the substance, along with n-hexane, from its assembly lines back in 2014, following reports that it was leading to leukemia among factory workers. But Yeting is still fighting for Foxconn and other companies to acknowledge benzene poisoning and other issues.
We are proud to be welcoming a high-profile UN official as a speaker who will open our Annual General Meeting. Joining our membership for this unique and relevant event will be members of the public and officials, parents and students of the Burnaby School District.
Marcia Kran’s background includes a 35-year career as an international lawyer, senior manager roles in the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Development Programme, and work as a professor of human rights law at UBC. Ms. Kran was elected Canada’s First UN Human Rights Committee member in over a decade. Committee members are independent experts who monitor implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a key UN treaty. The committee is the place where contentious human rights issues are brought forward, and recommendations are made in order to meet the international standards put in place by the UN.
Please join us on April 3rd, 2017 at: Byrne Creek Community School’s Centre for Dialogue 7777-18th Street, Burnaby (8-minute walk south from Edmonds Skytrain Station)
6:30 – 6:45 UNAC Annual General Meeting
7:00 – 8:00 Marcia Kran keynote and Q&A
8:00 – 8:30 Reception – Coffee/tea and refreshments provided
The Youth for Human Rights Foundation (B.C. chapter) and Ubuntu for Human Rights International Society co-organized an event dedicated to celebrating the International Day for Human Rights this past December 10th at The Metro (759 Carnarvon Street, New Westminster). One of the keynote speakers was Senator Mobina S.B. Jaffer (who is also an Honorary Patron of UNA-Vancouver). Several human rights groups such as UNA-Vancouver, the Global Peace Alliance, and Child Aid International were invited to host tables at the event. Each table had a representative talk about their group for a couple minutes so participants were able to learn about each organization.
The event began with a demonstration of 30 short videos dedicated to each human right listed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted two years after the establishment of the United Nations Association of Canada in 1946. You can find these informative videos at http://www.youthforhumanrights.org/what-are-human-rights.html
After a First Nations welcoming ceremony, Senator Jaffer highlighted the importance of human rights advocacy and, in particular , the rights of homeless people in Vancouver.
In his capacity as Director-at-Large in UNA-Vancouver, Akmal Bazarov shared information about the UNA in Canada and assured participants that the UNA of Canada continues to promote UN values indicated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and UN Conventions on human rights within its mandates in order to achieve the UN`s Sustainable Development Goals.
For example, in addition to supporting the principles outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Canada has ratified seven principal UN human rights conventions and covenants: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR – accession by Canada in 1976), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR – ratified by Canada in 1976), the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT – ratified by Canada in 1987), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC – ratified by Canada in 1991), the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD – accession by Canada in 1970), the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW – ratified by Canada in 1981), and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD – ratified by Canada in 2010). As a ratifier, Canada must submit reports on how it implements each of these treaties.
Wehope that this event contributed to raising awareness among Canadians on UN values and human rights, especially in the rapidly changing political situation in the world.
Our Annual General Meeting will be taking place on Monday April 4th at Fairleigh Dickinson University. We always pair our business meeting with a public lecture and this year we will be discussing the intersection of sports and human rights as they pertain to mega-events such as the Olympic Games and World Cup. With much controversy surround the upcoming 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janiero and the 2020 Qatar World Cup we have put together a panel of experts to help contextualize and add depth to the news items you may be reading, particularly as these events pertain to human rights issues.
The panel will be moderated by UNA-Vancouver Co-President, Courtney Szto, with the three following panelists:
Amanda De Lisio (@a_delisio) is a doctoral candidate at the University of Toronto from the Department of Exercise Sciences and the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies. Her work is anchored by questions concerning human nature and social life under urbanization and how, specifically, these are reconfigured in the staging/hosting of a (sport) mega-event. Previous work qualitatively assessed the impact of school-based health policies on young people living in 2010 Olympic host communities, while her dissertation interrogates the influence of event-led urbanism on local, informal economies such as sexual commerce. Given this focus, she collaborated with the Observatório da Prostituição (Prostitution Observatory), an extension project of the Metropolitan Ethnographic Lab (LeMetro/IFCS) at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro for the 2014 World Cup. This fieldwork has informed her writing on sport, sex and urban development.
Nicolien van Luijk (@beantreesturtle) recently completed her PhD at the University of British Columbia in the School of Kinesiology. Her research critically examines the influence of international sporting institutions on local and global politics. Her PhD work explored the question – who benefits from the burgeoning partnership between the International Olympic Committee and the United Nations? Specifically, she questioned the UN’s involvement with and endorsement of the IOC, an undemocratic organization with a lengthy history of ignoring human rights abuses and unchecked exercises of power. In her previous work, Nicolien has considered the impact of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games on individuals who actively protested against the mega event. Nicolien is currently working as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at UBC.