70 years ago the Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.

The Declaration was created in response to the atrocities of World War ll, to ensure they would never happen again.

Though the historic document isn't legally binding, it has been an inspiration for many laws; encompassing freedom of speech, personal rights to beliefs, rights of prisoners, the right to travel, the right to be safe, among others.

Garden Valley Collegiate History Teacher Cherise Bergen says in Canada the document heavily influenced the 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

"If you compare both of them, they do look quite similar. In Canada, we've gone really far in making laws against discrimination. . . the UN's Declaration of Human Rights is a lofty goal, and there are lots of places to go still." 

Cherise Bergen

Canada has made great strides in creating laws which honour human rights Bergen says; however, there is a struggle within the nation.

"Many people aren't aware of the rights that they have, especially in places like the workforce . . . you can't be discriminated based on your gender, sexual orientation, or many different things."

Bergen says the next steps the country should take is bringing awareness to the rights people have. A big push currently going on is rights for people who are disabled, making places accessible for them.

For immigrants, sometimes it can be hard to adjust to a new environment, and there is a service that continues to help these newcomers in the Pembina Valley.

Regional Connections helps immigrants with their paperwork to stay in Canada and bring their family to Canada, helps new residents build resumes, and offers language supports.

Alesha Hildebrand Integration and Volunteer Coordinator for Regional Connections says these services are an amazing tool to help people feel that they have an understanding of what it's like to live in Canada and be a part of its culture.

Alesha HildebrandFor people coming from regions where they didn't feel safe, this welcoming atmosphere can go a long way says, Hildebrand.

"We have different people from all over the world, all different stories that bring them to Canada. Canada is a safe place to live in general, so we want people to feel they're getting that sense of belonging when they come into the Pembina Valley."

Hildebrand says people from 130 countries have passed through regional Connections programs; the cultural diversity is vastly growing, so one of the visions and missions of Regional Connections is cultural awareness.

Bergen notes the fight for human rights has been a long one, when you think of the fight for human rights you picture Nelson Mandela, Viola Desmond, and Rosa Parks.

Rights are incredibly important says Bergen, and as Canadians, we can often take for granted the rights that we have. Bergen says people have to choose to be aware of their rights and stand up for others when they aren't being given the rights they deserve.