FREDERICTON (GNB) – The recipients of the 2022 New Brunswick Human Rights Awards were honoured during a ceremony today at Government House in Fredericton.

Mamadou Oury Diallo of Moncton received the Human Rights Award and Cassandra Pitchford of Fredericton received the Youth Human Rights Award.

“Mamadou Oury Diallo and Cassandra Pitchford are two exceptional New Brunswickers who embody the principles of equality and inclusion and who work tirelessly to eliminate the stereotypes and end the systemic inequalities that still exist in our province,” said Lt.-Gov. Brenda L. Murphy. “Every one of us has a role to play in advocating for marginalized groups.”

“It is important to celebrate the residents of New Brunswick who work to promote accessibility, equity and diversity in the province,” said New Brunswick Human Rights Commission chair Claire Roussel-Sullivan. “Their journeys should inspire and guide us. Mamadou Oury Diallo is receiving the Human Rights Award for his exceptional leadership in promoting diversity, inclusion and the socio-economic and cultural development of New Brunswickers of African descent.”

“It is an honour to receive this award, but it is also, above all, motivation for continuing to build ties between New Brunswick communities on topics relating to respect for human rights,” said Diallo. “The principles of inclusion, equity, equality and social justice for all are very important to me.”

“Youth Human Rights Award recipient Cassandra Pitchford is being recognized today for her exceptional work within her community and with various provincial organizations,” said Roussel-Sullivan. “Cassandra’s role in promoting the values of inclusion, equity and accessibility to ensure all students in New Brunswick can access education of equal quality is an example to follow.”

“Experiencing progressive hearing loss after beginning university quickly made me realize that people might not have the tools to be able to offer accessible and inclusive services,” said Pitchford. “This inspired me to push for better support for people with disabilities in New Brunswick and elsewhere, in addition to offering presentations and workshops on a variety of topics, with a focus on accessibility.”

New Brunswick Human Rights Day is observed every Sept. 15 to commemorate the evolution, recognition and protection of human rights in the province. Since 1967, the commission has been responsible for enforcing the Human Rights Act. The organization is also responsible for the act’s evolution by recommending amendments to reflect societal changes.

The award, a sculpture of walnut and maple with the names of the recipients engraved on the base, is on permanent public display at Government House. It was established by the commission in 1988 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Each year, the award is given by the commission to an individual or group from New Brunswick that has shown outstanding effort, achievement and leadership on a volunteer basis in the promotion of human rights.