Côte Saint-Luc to honour human rights activists

Côte Saint-Luc, June 14, 2010 – Next month on its Human Rights Walkway, the City Côte Saint-Luc will honour those who spoke out and fought for Jews oppressed in the former Soviet Union, Syria, and Ethiopia.

The ceremony will take place on Canada Day, Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 5:30pm at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park.

“This year, instead of honouring a specific person, we are honouring a group a people—essentially a movement—that succeeded in pressuring foreign governments mistreating their Jewish residents,” Mayor Anthony Housefather said. “Many of the people involved in these movements were from Côte Saint-Luc or the Montreal area.”

To help mark the event, Côte Saint-Luc has produced a 20-minute mini-documentary called “Human Rights Activists for Oppressed Jews in Foreign Lands”. The video features interviews with Irwin Cotler and Stan Cytrynbaum. Professor Cotler, who today is the Member of Parliament for Mount Royal, discusses his involvement, including serving as the legal counsel for political prisoners in the Soviet Union. Montreal lawyer Stan Cytrynbaum provides a personal account of how the first learned about Ethiopian Jews and later helped create a movement in Canada to draw attention to their plight and advocate for their rescue. The video is available at CoteSaintLuc.org.

“Our mini-documentary is meant to educate young people about these events and to inspire them to join or create human rights movements of their own,” said Councillor Mike Cohen, who is the co-chairperson of this event with Councillor Glenn J. Nashen. “The video is part of a growing library of videos produced in-house by the city’s Public Affairs and Communications Department.”

The Human Rights Walkway was inaugurated in 2000 and is dedicated to men and women who, through their actions, have promoted and defended human rights. This will be the tenth plaque unveiled on the walkway, which is located at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park, 6975 Mackle Rd.

“Many of the past honourees have been people who put their lives on the line in many parts of the world,” Councillor Nashen said. “By selecting a movement of people—many of them local—we wanted to highlight the fact anyone, anywhere can help those in need, even from the safety and comfort of our suburban homes in Canada. Professor Cotler, Stan Cytrynbaum, and Judy Feld Carr—an unassuming former music teacher and grandmother of 10 who was responsible for the rescue of 3,228 Jews from Syria over 28 years—are three examples of a movement that helped rescue hundreds of thousands of people.”

The public can learn more about the past honourees at www.CoteSaintLuc.org/en/Walkway.

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For more information: Darryl Levine, Director of Public Affairs and Communications, 514-485-8905, dlevine@cotesaintluc.org

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