Supporting Rights & Liberties since 1978
MARL's formal beginnings occurred in January 1978 when the Ad Hoc Committee for Human Rights and Civil Liberties was formed. The original members felt there was a need for voluntary community action to advance rights and liberties in an affirmative way, which led the group to apply for funding from the Secretary of State to develop a viable human rights and civil liberties organization focused on human rights advocacy in Manitoba.
By March 1978, the Ad Hoc Committee had received a grant and were working part-time out of the Indian and Friendship Centre of Winnipeg. In August of that year, the Ad Hoc Committee incorporated under the name Manitoba Association for Rights and Liberties. The early years of MARL's existence saw a commitment to a broad organizational mandate. MARL sought to accommodate a variety of special interest groups, develop a legislative review function, and begin specific projects to evaluate and monitor provincial human rights legislation and administration.
MARL's role was initially defined as working at the grassroots, advocating for people who are aggrieved, and helping them to act on their own behalf. It was founded on the belief that rights and liberties are social and political concepts that shift over time, and that all humans have inalienable freedoms, which cannot be violated justly or morally. Although MARL has maintained this position regarding rights and liberties, the organizational mandate has grown to take action in education and advocacy toward greater social justice in the province.