Edmontonians recognized as human rights heroes

Four Edmontonians were recognized for their human rights work at a special award ceremony on Sunday.

Award recipients honoured for making Edmonton a more welcoming community

Edmonton’s poet laureate, Ahmed Knowmadic Ali, was recognized for his work with youth Sunday at the 12th-annual Human Rights Awards. (Axel Tardieu/Radio-Canada)

Four people have been recognized for making Edmonton a better place for everyone to live.

The 12th-annual Human Rights Awards on Sunday honoured those who are working to build a city where people from all backgrounds are welcome, according to organizers.

Greg Lopez, a settlement worker with Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers, was among those awarded by the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights.

He has supported vulnerable refugee claimants, including those from the international LGBTQ community.

Greg Lopez was honoured for his work with refugee claimants. (Axel Tardieu/Radio-Canada)

There's a growing need to help people who are "fleeing persecution, torture and arrest due to their sexual orientation," Lopez said.

"I think we should be more open and accommodating," he said. "Canada is supposed to be a welcoming country for newcomers and refugees. We should be doing more."

Edmonton's poet laureate Ahmed Knowmadic Ali was recognized for his work with youth, and Mahamad Accord, an advocate for issues of human rights and justice, also received a Human Rights Champions Award. An undocumented worker who goes by the name Lynn was honoured for leading a province-wide campaign for health coverage for non-status parents.

Human Rights Day

The award ceremony comes a day before the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The historic document recognizes that everyone is entitled to basic rights as a human being "regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status," according to the United Nations website.

Human Rights Day marks the anniversary of the United Nations' adoption of the document on Dec. 10, 1948.