Archived: Human rights & you

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What kinds of requests are human rights accommodations?

Have you ever asked someone to be accommodated under one of the grounds of human rights? Chances are good you may not have known, at the time, this was what you had asked. If your request was based on one of the human rights grounds, the person/organization you asked may be obligated to provide some kind of reasonable, but not perfect, accommodations. Here are a few examples of human rights accommodation requests:

I am transgendered and don’t feel comfortable going to the washroom in either a male or female bathroom. Is there a bathroom for me on campus?

I’m pumping breast milk between classes. Where can I go on campus that’s private to pump milk for my child? Is there a place on campus where I can refrigerate my breast milk?

These are just two of many types of human rights requests you might find yourself asking as a student, as an employee, as a recreation-user…the list goes on.

Many people know of the 13 grounds of human rights found in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. However, there is actually now an additional ground at MRU, not officially added in the Charter, but recently interpreted and enumerated by the Alberta Human Rights Commission: gender identity and expression.

For your information, here’s a current list of the human rights grounds that MRU recognizes:

-Religious Belief               
-Physical Disability                
-Marital Status                   
-Family status                 
-Place of Origin               
 -Mental Disability                
-Sexual Orientation            
-Source of Income               
-Gender Identity and Expression

Conversations involving human rights accommodations are important. Being able to sit down, bring an open-mind, and discuss the feelings of all parties is delicate work. Working towards finding common ground is part of developing solid communication and relationships with people.

For support with human rights and diversity accommodations and conversations, contact the Diversity & Human Rights office (U216-C) or SAMRU’s Student Advocacy Coordinator (Z302) >>

–        By Andrea Davis, Student Advocacy Coordinator

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