'We can stand up': Students teach big lessons at Human Rights Day in Stratford

The Town of Stratford hosted a Human Rights Day celebration featuring performances from First Nations, students from École François-Buote, the Stratford Elementary Choir and the Gender Sexuality Alliance of Charlottetown Rural High School.

French language, LGBT and immigrant rights highlighted on Human Rights Day at Stratford Town Centre

The Stratford Elementary Choir performed Little Boxes by Malvina Reynolds to highlight the importance of individuality. (Nicole Williams/CBC News)

Performances and speaches marked Human Rights Day in P.E.I. on Friday, with a focus on First Nations, bilingualism, LGBT and immigrant rights.

The Town of Stratford hosted the celebration featuring performances from First Nations, students from École François-Buote, the Stratford Elementary Choir and the Gender Sexuality Alliance of Charlottetown Rural High School Friday morning. 

LGBT rights

Olivia Francis, 16, said it's important to educate people about human rights issues.

"When someone says something against human rights, we can stand up for it and correct them. Let them know that what they're saying is not right," she said.

Olivia Francis, 16, a student at Charlottetown Rural High School and representative of the Gender Sexuality Alliance, said it's important to defend LGBT rights. (Stephanie Brown/CBC News)

Francis, a student at Charlottetown Rural High School and representative of the Gender Sexuality Alliance, also said standing up for LGBT rights shouldn't be ignored. 

"Being harassed for being LGBT is something that will basically not ever go away," she said. "But we can help improve those things by standing up for their human rights."

Supporting newcomers

Basel Al Rashdan, 11, said Human Rights Day was important to him on a personal level.

Basel Al Rashdan, 11, relocated with his family from Syria to Charlottetown last year. He said he really misses home, but is grateful for the rights he has in Canada. (Stephanie Brown/CBC News)

"I didn't have rights in my country. That's why I'm here, right now," he said. 

Al Rashdan relocated with his family from Syria almost a year ago. 

He said his experiences back home have taught him how to respect others.

"We all have to be equal," said Al Rashdan. 

Approximately 100 people attended the event.

Human Rights Day is officially Dec. 10. It was established in 1950 by the UN General Assembly to bring attention a common standard of human rights.