Matthew Soldier is a native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, where he has lived for his entire life. “My favorite place to live in Winnipeg would have to be the West End,” he says, “mostly because I feel it’s the least racist or prejudiced.”
Opposition to racism and prejudice is important to Matthew Soldier, who has always been committed to equality and human rights. “All I want is for the best for everybody, especially the ones I care about,” he says. Human rights, he believes, are those most basic rights and freedoms that are the birthright of every person in the world, and it pains him to know that these basic human rights are violated for countless millions of people each and every day.
As Matthew Soldier knows, modern ideas about human rights date back to the years immediately after World War Two, when the entire world was reeling from the realities of the Holocaust. In an effort to prevent such a human catastrophe from happening again, the newly formed United Nations adopted the University Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. It was the first time that the fundamental rights shared by all human beings the world over had been codified and set down on paper.
Those rights include core principles like the right to dignity, equality and respect, and they led to a series of International and regional human rights treaties. Other human rights include such core principles as autonomy. And Matthew Soldier says that they are as relevant today as they ever were, because they protect the freedom to control one’s own life, which is something that must never be taken for granted.