Founding of the JHC

The John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights (JHC) began its journey on November 26, 1998, with the launch of the “Universal Rights and Human Values: A Blueprint for Peace, Justice and Freedom” which brought together speakers such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, her Excellency Mary Robinson and the Right Honourable Antonio Lamer. This event was the largest international commemoration and reflection of the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and an examination of the road ahead.Two months later, the organization registered as a non-profit company in Alberta and two years later was formally recognized as a registered charity.

Jack O' Neill, a founding father of the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights, provides a grounding in the early history of the Centre at the 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Conference in Edmonton, Alberta Canada.

Named for John Peters Humphrey, Canadian lawyer and principal drafter of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the JHC was created based on the belief that the struggle for human rights is never conclusively won, requiring continuous need to reinforce these rights. The goal of the JHC is to see the universal implementation of human rights through teaching and education of all people, focusing specifically on children and youth. Using the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a framework, the JHC seeks universal recognition, understanding, and promotion and protection of human rights for the purpose of creating an everlasting culture of peace and human rights.

The JHC continuously works to advance a culture of peace and human rights through educational programs and activities, community collaboration and relationship-building guided by the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is known for hosting memorable events such as the:

1) Global Youth Assembly which takes place every two years and brings youth together from across Canada and around the world to Edmonton to look at critical social issues and human rights;
2) Human Rights City Edmonton which is part of a larger global coalition of cities committed to advancing human rights learning. Edmonton was the first in North America and continues to be a global leader; and
3) Gall Conference, in memory of the late Gerald L. Gall, one of the founding fathers of the JHC, which provides a forum for critical conversation on the state of human rights in Alberta.

In addition, the JHC's Rights in Play program features an interesting, interactive and fun curriculum of games and activities about human rights that have been delivered in schools and summer programs throughout Alberta since 1998.