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UKRAINIAN CANADIAN COMMUNITY RENEWS CALL FOR ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRANSPARENCY AT HUMAN RIGHTS MUSEUM

posted January 2, 2012

December 22, 2011-Winnipeg, Canada-The Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) has renewed its call for an independent review of the Canadian Human Rights Museum (CMHR) and a suspension of incremental funding by the federal government amid media reports that the museum is behind schedule and over budget.

"The Ukrainian Canadian Congress has called for an inclusive and equitable Museum and continues to call upon the leadership of the CMHR to clearly present the actual design and content of the museum to Canadians for public review," stated UCC National President Paul Grod. "We are also calling for greater transparency and public accountability by the museum."
 
Specifically, UCC continues to call upon the Government of Canada to:

Reconstitute the Museum's Board of Trustees with appointees who are impartial and representative of Canadian society.

Independent Review - Conduct an independent review of the design, layout and content of the Museum in a public and transparent manner to ensure that the human rights stories of all Canadians are presented in a fair and representative manner. The contents of the CMHR should be reviewed by a newly appointed, independent and impartial Content Advisory Committee and that all work and procurement relating to content, design or that may impact on these aspects, be immediately suspended until its design, layout and content has been publicly presented. The UCC calls upon the CMHR to reject outright the Content Advisory Committee Final Report dated May 25, 2010. The report is biased and has serious omissions. For instance, there is not one reference either to the human rights violation of using food as a weapon in the Holodomor or the human rights abuses of the authoritarian regime of Joseph Stalin which was responsible for the murder of millions.

Suspend Incremental Funding - Suspend any further funding for the Museum  until issues surrounding the governance and content of the Museum are reviewed. Furthermore, we call upon the museum to suspend any procurement that is predicated on a design, layout and content until an independent review is concluded.

We encourage all governments to ensure that no further funding be extended to the museum (by any branch of government) until these issues are resolved.

The Ukrainian Canadian Congress has supported this government-funded Museum and members of our community have donated millions of dollars, on the basis that it would:

be governed in a transparent manner and be reflective of the broader Canadian experience; and

 that the Holodomor and Canada's first national internment operations would be given a permanent and prominent place in the Canadian Museum of Human Rights.

"We are calling upon the government and the leadership of the CMHR to clearly present the actual design and content of the museum to Canadians for public review," stated Grod.
 
At present, the Museum has begun construction and there are no plans to distinctively and appropriately display the human rights stories of the Holodomor and Canada's First National Internment Operations.
 
Why WW1 Internment Operations?
The experience of Ukrainians and other Europeans unjustly imprisoned during Canada's first national internment operations of 1914-1920 should be included in a permanent gallery exhibit.

 During this tragic period thousands of Ukrainians and other East Europeans were unjustly imprisoned and disenfranchised only because of where they had come from. Furthermore, this event gave precedence to other well known human rights abuses in Canada including the Chinese Head tax, Internment of Japanese and Italians during WW2.
 
Why the Holodomor?
The Holodomor should be provided a permanent gallery in this publicly-funded museum for the following reasons:

It is one of the greatest human rights abuses in history and was recently recognized as a genocide (May 2008) by the Parliament of Canada and one which is relatively unknown;

By its geographical focus and intensity is arguably one of the greatest genocides in human history;

It is an example of the human rights violations suffered by the victims of communism around the world; specifically the denial of the human right to food as well as the crimes of communism; and

It highlights the crimes of the communist dictatorship of Joseph Stalin and the Soviet regime.

 "The Holodomor is an important lens through which the world can learn about the crimes of communism and human rights abuses of dictatorial regimes like that of Joseph Stalin," concluded Grod. "Furthermore, we can learn from Canada's WWI internment operations how and why civil liberties were taken from early immigrants to ensure that similar human rights abuses are not repeated."

UCC Media Contact: 
Darla Penner
Telephone: (204) 942-4627
Email:
dpenner@ucc.ca
Website: www.ucc.ca

 
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