Professor Fournier offers her warmest congratulations to the recipients of the Rights and Freedoms Award 2016 of the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission
On December 8th 2016, Pascale Fournier, Full Professor of the Civil Law Section at the University of Ottawa and Research Chair in Legal Pluralism and Comparative Law, had the pleasure of attending the presentation ceremony of the Rights and Freedoms Award 2016 of the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission. Awarded to Annie Pullen Sansfaçon and Olie Pullen, a mother-daughter duo advocating for the protection of trans children’s rights, the Award commends exceptional achievement and commitment to the defense of human rights and freedoms in Québec. Herself a Commissioner to the Commission, Professor Fournier joined dignitaries and community leaders to recognize the work of the recipients and of the finalists during the ceremony.
Mses. Pullen Sansfaçon and Pullen have strived to raise public awareness of the realities of trans children, notably in order to denounce the injustices and difficulties they experience when their identification documents do not correspond with their gender. Their participation to the National Assembly public consultations was critical in the deliberations related to Bill 103, which was adopted in June 2016. Among other things, the Bill modifies the Civil Code to allow trans children to change the mention of their sex in the Québec civil status register and adds gender identity or expression as grounds for discrimination listed at section 10 of the Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.
Presented yearly since 1988 on the occasion of International Human Rights Day marking the adoption of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights on December 10th, 1948, the Rights and Freedoms Award commends the exceptional work of individuals and organisations whose achievements contribute significantly to the protection and the promotion of human rights in Québec. To highlight the 50th anniversary of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Commission chose to focus on submissions from individuals, organizations or institutions working on a day-to-day basis to promote and defend these rights. The theme of the 2016 edition of the Prize is summed up as follows: “You have the right to dignity!”
Founder of Gender Creative Kids Canada and professor at the École de travail social of the Université de Montréal, Ms. Pullen Sansfaçon explains: “The right to dignity is the right to be ourselves, the right to live without having to justify to anyone why we were assigned a letter at birth rather than another. The right to dignity is the right to be able, if we want to express ourselves on the fact that we are trans, to do so, and if we do not want to, not to be obligated.
The Commission ensures the promotion and respect of the principles set out in the Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. It also ensures that the interests of children are protected and that their rights recognized in the Youth Protection Act are respected and promoted. In addition, the Commission oversees compliance with the Act respecting Equal Access to Employment in Public Bodies.
As Commissioner since 2014 and LGBTQ ally, Professor Fournier extends her warmest congratulations to Mses. Pullen Sansfaçon and Pullen and to this year’s finalists.