VANCOUVER, Sept. 5, 2019 /CNW/ - B.C.'s new Human Rights Commissioner outlined her key priorities to media on Thursday. Kasari Govender took the oath of office as commissioner earlier in the week in Victoria. In this role, she is responsible for promoting and protecting human rights in the province.
"I'm proud to be serving all British Columbians in this important role," said Commissioner Govender, "At the heart of human rights is equality. Equality is not treating everyone the same. It is about treating people according to their unique needs and circumstances. My job as commissioner is to be a watchdog for human rights in this province."
Govender has devoted her life to promoting human rights, with a focus on the rights of those most marginalized and vulnerable. She has worked closely with organizations and communities promoting gender equality, Indigenous rights, children's rights, the rights of people with disabilities and the rights of migrant communities
From 2008 until 2019, Govender held leadership positions at West Coast LEAF, including as Executive Director from 2011.
"One of my first priorities is to enhance public understanding of both rights and obligations under B.C.'s human rights code," said Govender in her comments to the media. "My objective is to create a new culture of human rights in this province."
The Office of the Human Rights Commissioner will be set up in Vancouver. It is Canada's first fully independent human rights commission, and reports directly to the legislative assembly.
In addition to educating British Columbians on human rights, the Office's mandate includes examining and addressing underlying issues of discrimination.
The Office joins two other institutions in providing human rights oversight in the province: the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal, which adjudicates individual complaints, and the Human Rights Clinic, which provides free legal representation to complainants who have cases before the Tribunal. Both will continue in their roles.
In the coming weeks, Govender will be talking with British Columbians in various parts of the province in order to shape priorities for B.C.'s new human rights commission.
For more information and a video of Ms. Govender, see our website: www.bchumanrights.ca
SOURCE The Office of the Human Rights Commissioner, B.C.
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