Human Rights Awards
Held in commemoration of International Human Rights Day, these awards are meant to recognize those in our community who are actively promoting, fulfilling, protecting or educating on human rights, and making our communities a place where all belong, are included and able to participate.
Every year awards are given out to recipients, who are local human rights champions who are building Edmonton as a human rights city. In 2016, we awarded our first winner from outside of Edmonton in our efforts to recognize Albertans making an impact. This is followed by the Gerald L. Gall Award for an individual who has made an outstanding contribution and has demonstrated excellence in the protection and promotion of human rights in Canada.
Robert P. Lee, the recipient the Gerald L. Gall award in 2016, explains what the award means to him, “Right now, there’s a little more failure than success in the work that I do. Because it is so challenging, in a way I feel that I’m not worthy of it yet. I hope to help the people that I’m representing- and I’m not there yet.” The lawyer, also a children's advocate, has represented victims of sexual abuse who he felt were not being treated fairly by the legal system.
This year we will celebrate the 11th annual Human Rights Awards. Robert P. Lee will be our guest speaker for the Afternoon.
Robert P Lee is an Edmonton born and raised lawyer. His parents owned the Rosslyn M&M Grocery store in north Edmonton, where Robert learned about hard work from an early age. After graduating from law school at the U of A, Robert articled at Blake Cassels and Graydon, which was the largest firm in the country at the time. After finding that his interests were not in line with other lawyers, Robert started working for himself where he was able to choose the type of work and clients that he wanted to represent. For lawyers, it is preferable to work for those with power and money, but Robert chose to work for the little guy instead. Robert began working for individuals who had little access to justice. He began helping victims of childhood sexual abuse and victims of the Alberta Child Welfare System. As a lawyer and as a Justice of the Peace of the Provincial Court of Alberta, Robert saw the devastating effect that childhood abuse had on children. Since approximately 1997 Robert has been trying to help victims of childhood abuse obtain justice and compensation for the wrongs committed against them. Unfortunately fighting against abusers and the Government has been difficult, especially since the Government has the power to and has changed laws to limit the compensation that victims receive. Robert has determined that it is too difficult to sue the Government in individual actions and he has been using class actions as a means to help his clients obtain justice. Robert has been involved in 2 class actions against Alberta Child Welfare and has plans for additional class actions.