ISPHR came out soundly against the 2003 American invasion of Iraq – but once the invasion took place we committed to offering humanitarian and development assistance. Our various ISPHR chapters partnered with other local NGOs and pledged to 'adopt' an Iraqi town. Edmonton 'adopted' Al-Mutayha and New Mishrag, sending over $200,000, while Calgary 'adopted' Jurf al-Shakr and sent over $30,000.
The Group of 6 Billion (G6B)
In late 2001, we learned that the Canadian government had chosen Kananaskis, Alberta as the site for the 2002 meeting of the G8 leaders. ISPHR quickly committed to leading the people's summit – an effort to push forward the agenda of the people. While the leaders focused on anti-terrorism and capitalism as the saviors of Africa, we focused on human security and the human needs of African peoples.
PEACEntury 2000: A Peoples' Human Rights Conference
In the fall of 1998, Edmonton hosted an international conference to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. It was an important event and we wanted to build upon the awareness created and to shine the spotlight on survivors of human rights abuses and champions of human rights and justice. We started dreaming about a human rights conference that celebrated everyday people from parts of the world we never hear about in the daily papers and commercial TV. Between holding down day jobs and working towards our degrees, we pulled off a conference – called PEACEntury 2000: A Peoples' Human Rights Conference – that really put ISPHR on the peace map. We brought 50 people from 35 different countries, all either survivors or those who worked directly with survivors. We heard their stories, explored the causes of injustice, and pledged to keep working for peace.
Alison Azer with Tibetan Buddhist Monk, Paldon Guyasto, survivor of many years in Chinese prisons.
Saren Azer with Father Shay Cullen, tireless fighter for protection of Filipino women and children.