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December 5, 2012

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CoDevelopment Canada recognized for outstanding contribution to human rights

VANCOUVER—CoDevelopment Canada has been named the 2012 recipient of the Renate Shearer Award from the United Nations Association in Canada, Vancouver Branch and the BC Human Rights Coalition.

In selecting CoDev for the award, the presenters cited the organization’s work with its Latin American partners as impressive and in need of recognition. “It is our hope that giving you the Renate Shearer Award this year will offer such an opportunity [for recognition] in addition to saying ‘thank you’ to all of you on behalf of the human rights community in B.C.”

CoDev, whose staff is represented by CUPE 1004 and whose programs are supported by both CUPE National and CUPE BC, works with its Latin American partners to protect the rights of workers, women and communities across the region. CoDev-supported programs include evidence gathering for legal cases and human rights violation denunciations in Colombia, “Gender School” (workshops on violence against women) in El Salvador, and the Non-Sexist Pedagogy – a “train the trainer” model used by educators throughout Central America to train other teachers on pedagogy promoting gender equality and inclusion.

“It is an honour for CoDev to be recognized by local human rights activists for our work towards social change and equality,” says CoDev executive director Barbara Wood.  “As Renate Shearer showed through her life’s work, when people come together to address inequalities, change does happen!”

For more than two decades Renate Shearer was a tireless advocate for human rights. She worked with the YMCA and the City of Vancouver, and taught in the School of Social Work at UBC. In 1981, Shearer’s unpaid appointment as provincial human rights commissioner marked the culmination of all her community work.  Throughout her career, Shearer was very active in social service-related issues, the promotion of human rights, and the abolition of racism. In 1983, she became very involved in the Solidarity Coalition. In 1988 she passed away from cancer. Past recipients of the Renate Shearer award include Miriam Palacios, human rights activist with Oxfam Canada and David Eby of the BC Civil Liberties Association.

CoDevelopment Canada is a B.C.-based NGO that works for social change and global education in the Americas. Founded in 1985 by a group of activists who wanted to go beyond financial aid, CoDev builds partnerships between like-minded organizations in Canada and Latin America to foster learning, social change, and community empowerment.  These partnerships educate Canadians about Latin America and allow them to directly support the region. Such connections build solidarity, mutual understanding and ultimately improve prospects for a fairer global order.

The awards ceremony, held in celebration of International Human Rights Day, provides an opportunity for those working in the human rights arena to come together and celebrate accomplishments while paying tribute to the life and work of Renate Shearer. This year’s ceremony will take place on Wednesday, December 12, from 5:30p.m.-8:00pm at JJ's Restaurant, Vancouver Community College (3rd Floor), 250 West Pender Street. Admission by donation.

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