Rights and Democracy

Rights and Democracy

June 06, 2005 17:11 ET

Stephen Lewis to Address Rights & Democracy Conference on Millennium Development Goals

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - June 6, 2005) - Stephen Lewis, UN Special Envoy on HIV/AIDS in Africa, joins Canadian and international decision-makers gathering in Ottawa this week for Rights & Democracy's international conference on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Stephen Lewis; Bertrand Ramcharan, former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; Arjun Sengupta, the UN's Independent Expert on Human Rights and Extreme Poverty; Aileen Carrol, Canada's International Cooperation Minister; Opposition Leader Stephen Harper; Bloc Quebecois leader, Gilles Duceppe; Ablasse Ouedraogo former deputy director of the World Trade Organization now with the African Bank of Development; and Walter Reid, Director of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment are among the many notables who will speak on the United Nations ambitious MDGs, which include halving extreme poverty and hunger and eliminating gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2015.

The Rights & Democracy conference, entitled The Millennium Development Goals: Our Human Rights Obligation, aims to help strengthen Canada's international policies and strategies around the MDGs and highlight the inseparable link between human rights and development.

"Human rights are not a concept without any connection to the lives of real people - the right to food and water, to health, to education and to an adequate standard of living are rights that affect our day to day lives," said Jean-Louis Roy, President of Rights & Democracy. "We have the means to achieve these goals and we know what is needed in terms of public and private investment. The only question is do we have the political will? Canada is in a unique position to build a solid coalition for achieving the MDGs, and that is what this conference is about."

Day One of the conference (Wednesday, June 8) will examine the current status of the MDGs from an international perspective, with panel discussions that will hear from representatives of the United Nations, the World Bank and the international community. Day Two (Thursday, June 9) will focus on Canada's role in achieving the MDGs, with panel discussions that will hear from members of Canadian Parliament, the African Union, the European Union, the private sector and civil society organizations.

More information, including a conference agenda, speakers biographies and information on the MDGs, is available on Rights & Democracy's Web site, http://www.dd-rd.ca

Rights & Democracy is a non-partisan organization with an international mandate. It was created by Canada's Parliament in 1988 to encourage and support the universal values of human rights and the promotion of democratic institutions and practices around the world.

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