CANADIAN PEACE HALL OF FAMECommencing November 11, 2000, the Canadian Peace Hall of Fame (CPHF) honors people and institutions who represent the best in the peacebuilding profession. The Hall of Fame exists to recognize the prominent and the unsung heroes of our country - the people who influence our most worthwhile cause, Peace. Initially, as a virtual Hall of Fame, the web site will provide you with information about the Canadian Peace Hall of Fame's members. The goal of recognizing exemplary peacebuilding is to be accomplished through honor, recognition and building awareness.
Pearson believed that Canada had a responsibility and indeed, a vital national interest, in active participation in any international activity that would lessen the chances of another world war. As such, Pearson was a strong advocate of the UN’s role in peacekeeping and in strong Canadian involvement in UN peacekeeping operations. As well, he was actively involved in negotiations that led to the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1949. Through his involvement in early UN conflict solving, both he and Canada emerged with distinction. By not condemning, isolating or antagonizing the States involved, Pearson was able to end the Suez crisis in 1956 through the United Nations by the creation of an international police force which would separate the combatants; would end the immediate fighting; and would allow the UK and France to withdraw from the crisis with a minimum loss of face and before being formally condemned by the UN.
In 1957, Pearson’s remarkable diplomatic achievements in peacebuilding, and in particular in resolving the crisis of Suez through the establishment of a UN Emergency Force, was recognized and honoured with the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize. In his presentation speech, Dr. Gunnar Jahn, Chairman of the Nobel Committee emphasized that "the Peace Prize has not been awarded to the politician or to the secretary of state as such, but to the man Lester Pearson because of his personal qualities -- the powerful initiative, strength and perseverance he has displayed in attempting to prevent or limit war operations and to restore peace in situations where quick, tactful, and wise action has been necessary to prevent unrest from spreading and developing into a worldwide conflagration."
The principal author of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was a native of New Brunswick, John Peters Humphrey. He wrote the first draft of what eventually became perhaps the most important human rights document in history. The Declaration was unanimously passed by the United Nations' General Assembly on December 10, 1948. To mark this milestone, December 10 is recognized worldwide as Human Rights Day. In 1998, special events were held throughout the world to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration.
John Humphrey was born in Hampton, NB and went to school in Rothesay, NB. John did not have an easy childhood. His father died before John was one year old and his mother when he was eleven. His left arm was amputated when he was six because of a severe burn. Undeterred by these handicaps, John Humphrey pursued his studies at Mount Allison University in Sackville, NB and then at McGill University in Montreal. He earned four degrees at McGill and later became a professor and dean of law.
In 1946, Humphrey was asked to set up the UN's Division for Human Rights, of which he became the Director. In this capacity, he prepared a 400 page background paper for the proposed Universal Declaration and wrote its first draft in 1947. After further drafts and revisions by various UN officials and committees, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the UN in 1948. Humphrey was Director of the Human Rights Division until 1966.
Humphrey then returned to McGill, where he devoted himself to human rights teaching and advocacy. He was the founding president of the Canadian Section of the International Commission of Jurists and he helped establish Amnesty International Canada and the Canadian Human Rights Foundation.
Humphrey authored numerous articles and several books. He received 13 honorary degrees and, in 1974, was named an Officer of the Order of Canada. In his honour, the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development established the $25,000 John Humphrey Freedom Award, which is presented each year. Humphrey died in 1995 in Montreal. Canada Post issued a stamp in his honour in October 1998.
References - http://www.udhr.org/history/Biographies/biograph.htm
The following is a partial list of his publications:
- Humphrey, John
Peters. On the Edge of Greatness: The Diaries of John Humphrey, First
Director of the United Nations Human Rights Division, Vol I 1948-1949
by A.J. Hobbins (Editor) (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's
University Press, 1994). ISBN: 0773513833
A Partial Bibliographical listing may be found in:
Wiktor, Christian L. Canadian Bibliography of International Law 714 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1984).
Biographical Statements on this great Canadian are in:
- Macdonald, R. St. J. "Leadership
in Law: John P. Humphrey and the Development of the International Law
of Human Rights," The Canadian Yearbook of International Law,
XXIX (1991), 3-91.