• Thinking about Human Rights and Memory

    I was recently invited by Mr. David Choi to join the launch of the naming contest for the “Breaking the Silence” gallery at the Canadian Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg. Mr. David W. Choi is the Chair for the Chinese Canadian Community Campaign for the “Breaking the Silence” Gallery at the museum and their goal is to raise $2 million for gallery.

    The Canadian Museum of Human Rights is the first of its kind in Canada. This new facility opens in September 2014 and will serve as a centre for learning, reflection and inspiration about the history, progress and continued struggle for human rights.

    Barj Dhahan Canada Human Rights Museum

    Barj with Ms. Cady Xu, Event Chair, and Mr. David W. Choi, Chair for the Chinese Canadian Community Campaign for the “Breaking the Silence” Gallery

    The museum is being built at the Forks in Winnipeg, Manitoba, near the very centre of Canada. For over 5,000 years, this area has been an historic meeting place and starting point for journeys in North America. It will be a home for Canada’s stories, exploring human rights events and heroes that defined us as a nation, including Nellie McClung, Louis Riel, Viola Desmond, Mary Two-Ase Early, Lem Wong, the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and much more.

    The “Breaking the Silence” gallery will concentrate on the human rights practice of breaking silence, using our hard-won freedom of speech to create a climate of accountability for gross violations of human rights. The Breaking the Silence Gallery will invite visitors to participate in breaking silence over a cross-section of 16 large scale examples of human rights violations, including:

    • The 19th century slave trade
    • The so-called “Comfort Women” system of sexual slavery in the Second World War in Asia
    • The violence that erupted during India’s partition
    • Violations committed against Indigenous Peoples in Canada through Indian Residential Schools
    • And many more

    I am happy to join with the Chinese community and other friends across our great country in contributing funds towards the completion of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.