Two people and an organization have been honoured for their work promoting human rights and making life better for Nova Scotians, and others around the world, with the 2011 Human Rights Award. The Human Rights Commission presented the awards today, Dec. 9, at the International Human Rights Day Event at Park West School in Halifax. The theme is, Celebrating 25 Years of Partnerships for Human Rights: Raising Awareness Through Education in Our Communities. The winners are Tringa Rexhepi, Dartmouth and Doreen Crick, Halifax, and the Halifax Refugee Clinic. “Human rights education extends much further than the classroom,” said Education Minister Ramona Jennex on behalf of Ross Landry, Minister responsible for the Human Rights Commission. “It is something that Nova Scotians from every region are passing down through the generations and I congratulate this year’s Human Rights Award winners who work hard to raise awareness of human rights issues.” Ms. Rexhepi, a 20-year-old honoured in the youth category, came to Canada in 1999 as a refugee from Kosovo. She settled in Halifax and began volunteering at her school and in the community. In Grade 4, she was noticed by her teachers and peers as a mediator and leader. She raised thousands of dollars for families in need and persuaded her school administration to start an initiative to collect 1,000 books to increase literacy in Uganda. They far surpassed their goal, taking in 12,770 books. She is seen as an inspiration, community activist and humanitarian. As a member of the Rockingham Grannies and Grandmothers, a group that has raised almost $60,000 for the Stephen Lewis Foundation, Ms. Crick has been involved in fundraising for grandmothers in Africa to raise their grandchildren who were orphaned by HIV/AIDS. Ms. Crick, chosen in the individual category, was one of two grandmothers who organized a committee at the Rockingham United Church on anti-racism and hosted events to raise awareness about racial discrimination. She also spends a great deal of her time speaking in schools about humanitarian issues. The Halifax Refugee Clinic opened its doors on June 1, 2000. The clinic provides free legal advice and help with housing, employment and medical services. The clinic has supported over 1,200 men, women and children who were forced to flee their homelands and fear for their lives for reasons of race, religion, nationality and/or membership in a particular social or political opinion. The clinic, which is supported by a team of volunteers, has offered services to clients from over 60 countries. It was chosen in the organization category. “The winners of these awards have demonstrated their commitment to human rights and have used personal experiences and passion as an inspiration for their tireless efforts,” said Karen Fitzner, Human Rights Commission. “It’s not just people in the province who have benefitted and learned from their hard work, but people around the world.” International Human Rights Day celebrates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was adopted by the United Nations on Dec. 10, 1948 and is credited with shaping human rights around the world. The original document was drafted by John Humphrey, a Canadian. For more information go to http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/ .