Civil Society: Democracy, Dissent and the Law


Chancellor Day Hall Maxwell Cohen Moot Court (NCDH 100), 3644 rue Peel, Montreal, QC, H3A 1W9, CA

This year, the Macnaughton Lectures welcome Maina Kiai, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association, who will speak on democracy, dissent and the law inside civil society.

About the speaker

Mr. Maina Kiai is the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. He took up his functions on 1 May 2011, for an initial period of three years.

A lawyer trained at Nairobi and Harvard Universities, Mr. Kiai has spent the last twenty years campaigning for human rights and constitutional reform in Kenya – notably as founder and Executive Director of the unofficial Kenya Human Rights Commission, and then as Chairman of Kenya’s National Human Rights Commission (2003-2008), where he won a national reputation for his courageous and effective advocacy against official corruption, in support of political reform, and against impunity following the violence that convulsed Kenya in 2008, causing thousands of deaths.

From July 2010 to April 2011, Mr. Kiai was the Executive Director of the International Council on Human Rights Policy, a Geneva-based think-tank which produces research reports and briefing papers with policy recommendations. Mr. Kiai was also the Director of Amnesty International’s Africa Programme (1999-2001), and the Africa Director of the International Human Rights Law Group (now Global Rights, 2001-2003). He held research fellowships at the Danish Institute for Human Rights (Copenhagen), the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (Washington), and the TransAfrica Forum (Washington).

Mr. Kiai has regularly been an advocate informing and educating Kenyans through various media about their human rights.

About the Macnaughton Lectures

Funded by endowments from the Classes of '75 and '77 on the occasion of their 10th anniversaries and launched in 1994 thanks to the generosity of Senator Alan Aylesworth Macnaughton, PC OC QC (1903 –  1999), the bi-annual Alan Aylesworth Macnaughton Lecture is devoted to contemporary issues of public policy. Senator Macnaughton (BA'26, BCL'29, LLD'92) was Speaker of the House of Commons, founder and Honorary Chairman of the Canadian World Wildlife Fund, Counsel at Martineau Walker, and a member of the Faculty of Law Advisory Board.

Co-sponsored by the Aisenstadt Equality and Community Initiative, and the Katharine A. Pearson Chair in Civil Society and Public Policy.