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Associate Fellows

Éloge C. Butera

Éloge C. Butera (BCL/LLB 2012, McGill) is a human rights activist with an active involvement in Canadian public life, Éloge has worked in Parliament as a research and legislative assistant to Senator L.Gen. Roméo Dallaire (Ret’d) and as an articling student to Professor Irwin Cotler P.C., O.C., Member of Parliament (Mount Royal) and former Justice Minister and Attorney General of Canada. Éloge’s research interests centre on international human rights law, transitional justice, conflict resolution, and truth and reconciliation processes around the world.

As an Honorary Witness to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Éloge bears witness to the harm inflicted by Canada’s residential school system on generations of aboriginal Canadians. During his fellowship with the Centre, Éloge is focusing on the legacy of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, set to conclude its work in the fall of 2015.

As a survivor of the 1994 genocide against Tutsis in Rwanda, Éloge has spoken to dozens of audiences across Canada about his experience during the genocide and the role that an informed citizenry can play in preventing future mass atrocities and genocides. As an Associate Fellow, he will be working on recommendations to improve the United Nations' capacity for the prevention of genocide and mass atrocity crimes.

Edin Hodžić

Edin Hodžić

Edin Hodžić (DCL 2014) is co-founder, Director and Head of Public Law Program at Analitika – Center for Social Research from Sarajevo, a leading think-tank in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He holds a DCL from McGill University, LLM from the University of Oxford and BA in Law from the University of Sarajevo. Previously, among his several professional engagements, Edin worked on war crimes cases at the Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and was Editor-in-Chief of The Pulse of Democracy (Puls demokratije), an online publication on legal and policy issues in BiH published by Open Society Fund Bosnia and Herzegovina. He worked on a number of research projects and published several books, papers and research reports in the broad field of public law, including a co-edited volume on media and minorities in South-East Europe, and a book on constitutional reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He acted as a consultant on numerous occasions, advising the government and international organizations alike. Recently, Edin advised UNDP and the BiH Council of Ministers in the course of drafting a comprehensive transitional justice strategy for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Edin’s research interests mostly lie in the fields of constitutional law and international human rights law, but he also remains committed to combining insights from political science and political theory. He is particularly focused on exploring the theory and practice of collective and minority rights and complexities of transitional justice.

O'Brien Fellows in Residence

Zoneziwoh Mbondgulo Wondieh

R. Zoneziwoh Mbondgulo Wondieh is a feminist activist, an award winning humanitarian storyteller and blogger, with over five years of experience in gender activism, policy advocacy and youth leadership. Currently, she serves as the executive director of Women For A Change Cameroon (WFAC); a young feminist group working for the promotion of women and adolescents sexual and reproductive health rights, leadership and development.

Zoneziwoh is an alumna of the African Leadership Centre (ALC) Kenya, and also a Mandela Washington Fellow; President Obama's inaugural leadership program for young African leaders.

Zoneziwoh holds a Bachelors in Environmental Sciences and an MA (non-degree) in Conflict, Security and Development, King’s College London. She blogs at zofem.blogspot.com.

She will be in residence from September 2014 to the end of January 2015.

Charles Ngwena

Charles Ngwena, LLB, LLM (Wales), LLD (Free State), Barrister-at-Law, is a Professor in the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, South Africa. He has published widely on issues at the intersection between human rights and health care, including HIV/AIDS and reproductive and sexual health with a focus on the African region. He also writes on disability rights.

He serves on editorial committees and editorial boards of a number of international journals. He is the Convening Editor of the African Disability Rights Yearbook and Section Editor of Developing World Bioethics (for Law and Bioethics), and is on the editorial boards of Medical Law International and the Journal of African Law. He is a co-editor and co-author of Employment equity law (with JL Pretorius & E Klink) which was first published in 2001 by Butterworths and is updated annually. With Rebecca Cook, he is co-editor of Health and human rights (Ashgate, 2007). With Ebenezer Durojaye, he is co-editor of a forthcoming book – Strengthening sexual and reproductive rights in the African region through human rights (Pretoria University Law Press).

Professor Ngwena will be in residence for the month of September 2013.

Destaw Yigzaw

Dr. Destaw Yigzaw received his LLD from Kyushu University. His LLM in International Business and Economic Law is also from Kyushu University. He also holds an LLM in Comparative Constitutional Law from Central European University. His LLB degree (with distinction) was obtained from Addis Ababa University. Yigzaw was a full time faculty at the School of Law and International Studies of Unity University in Ethiopia, where he taught human rights law and jurisprudence, and business law for several years. He was also a part time lecturer of business law at the Commercial College of Addis Ababa University.

His research and teaching interests lie in the fields of international human rights, international trade law and public international law. He has several articles published or under publication in various law journals. Having served as the head of the human rights monitoring and research department of the former Ethiopian Human Rights Council, Yigzaw has extensive experience in human rights practice as well. 

Dr. Yigzaw will be in residence October 2014 – June 2015.

Pierre Bosset

Pierre Bosset is Professor of Public Law at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). A graduate of the University of Montreal, he holds postgraduate degrees in International Human Rights Law (Essex) and in International Relations (Cambridge). In 1985, Pr. Bosset joined the staff of the Québec Human Rights Commission as legal adviser, then as Head of Research. There, he authored several policy papers on discrimination and human rights issues, including economic, social and cultural rights and the relationship between law and religion. In 2007, Pr. Bosset joined UQAM, where he teaches human rights law, constitutional law and international law. One of his long-standing research interests is how law deals with cultural and religious diversity, notably through concepts such as laïcité and reasonable accommodation. His current research focuses on cultural rights. He will be visiting at the CHRLP for 2014-2015.

Noam Schimmel

Noam Schimmel was in residence September-December 2014

Noam Schimmel earned a PhD in Media and Communication from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in January, 2014. He has an MSc in Philosophy, Policy and Social Value from the LSE. His interdisciplinary doctoral research examined American Democratic presidential healthcare reform rhetoric, American healthcare reform policy and politics, and the human right to healthcare.

He served on the faculty of the School for International Training’s comparative human rights study abroad program from January – April of 2014, teaching courses on human rights and facilitating discussion and experiential learning in the three countries in which the program takes place in addition to the United States: Nepal, Jordan, and Chile. 

He is currently researching restorative justice post mass atrocity at the Center for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism, with emphasis on restorative justice for survivors of the Rwandan genocide against the Tutsi. He has published on a range of human rights topics including the rights of children, indigenous people, and genocide survivors as well as on development efforts to alleviate poverty and engender and sustain human security. His most recent articles have appeared in the Journal of Human Rights and Human Rights Review. He has also published in Development, Development in Practice, the International Journal of Children's Rights, the International Journal on Minority and Group Rights, and Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies, amongst others. 

Noam Schimmel has particular interests in the ethical dimensions of human rights law, the politics of human rights and humanitarian aid, and the role of rhetoric and communication in both advancing and limiting human rights.

O'Brien Graduate Fellows

  • Vanessa Clermont-Isabelle (See Bio on Graduate Students page)
  • Alvaro Cordova (See Bio on Graduate Students page)
  • Rokeya Chowdhry (See Bio on Graduate Students page)
  • Marika Giles Samson (See Bio on Graduate Students page)
  • John Hursh (See Bio on Graduate Students page)
  • Bethany Hastie (See Bio on Graduate Students page)
  • Sabaa Khan (See Bio on Graduate Students page)
  • Shimelis Kene (See Bio on Graduate Students page)
  • Bekithemba Mlauzi (See Bio on Graduate Students page)

See our page on O’Brien Fellowships for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism for more information on the fellowships themselves, including on how to apply for one.

Post-doctoral Fellows

Hassan Razavi

See his bio on our Current Graduate students and Post-Doctoral Fellows page.

Rathlyn Fellows

Izabella Karapetyan, 2014-2015 Rathlyn Fellow

Izabella is a BCL/LLB 2016 candidate. Originally from Armenia Izabella holds a B.C.L., Licence en droit and LLM from French University in Armenia in collaboration with Universite Jean-Moulin Lyon 3. She also has a Masters in critical disability studies from York University in Toronto.

She has extensive international and Canadian experience in employment and human rights. Izabella also has published brochures on employment and education for people with disabilities, and worked as a consultant for World Vision USA and World Vision Canada.

Steve Payette, 2014-2015 Rathlyn Fellow

Steve is a BCL/LLB 2016 candidate. He has a MA in Communication from the University of Ottawa and also holds a BA in Communication & Cultural Studies from Concordia University.

His research interests concern conceptualizing Law as a communicative process; semiotic translation; and the (missing) embodiment of normative thinking. He endeavors to become a Quebec Notary and has interned with the Center for Law and Aging.

Margery Pazdor, 2014-2015 Rathlyn Fellow

Margery is a third year BCL/LLB student at McGill. Before starting law school, she spent two years working on a class action law suit representing former residents of an institution for people with disabilities.

She holds a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and a Bachelor of Arts in French at Memorial University of Newfoundland, along with a Master of Arts in European Studies from the University of British Columbia.

Visiting Fellows

Marie-Ève Loiselle - April-July 2015

Marie-Ève is completing a PhD at the Australian National University’s (ANU), Centre for International Governance and Justice, where she studies the regulatory influence of physical partitions on territories and nations. Prior to that, she was a research officer on the Australian Research Council’s linkage project ‘Strengthening the rule of law through the United Nations Security Council’, also at ANU.

Marie-Ève has gained experience of international law issues through working at the International Training Centre of the International Labor Organisation (ILO) in Turin, Italy. This role involved developing projects for the promotion of international standards in the area of child labour, forced labour and discrimination in employment. She also interned with the Office of the Legal Advisor to the NATO Communication and Information Systems Services Agency (NCSA) in Belgium. More recently, she visited the New York-based NGO Security Council Report as an Australian Endeavour Fellow. Marie-Ève completed a Bachelor of Law at the University of Montreal, a certificate in Transnational Law from the University of Geneva, and a Master in Strategic Studies from the Australian National University.

Béatrice Vizkelety
Béatrice Vizkelety - since 2013

Béatrice Vizkelety, BA BCL, LLM, is a human rights lawyer with extensive experience in litigation and as Director of the Legal Department and Secretary of the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse du Québec. She is presently a Visiting Fellow at the McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism.

Member of the Quebec Bar since 1975, she specializes in Discrimination Law and Equality and has frequently appeared before courts and tribunals.  She acted on behalf of the Commission before the Supreme Court of Canada in Bergevin on the issue of religious discrimination and the duty of reasonable accommodation, in City of Montreal regarding the definition of «handicap» and «disability» under human rights legislation, and more recently in Via Rail confirming the rights of persons with disabilities to independent access to transportation. 

Béatrice was also lead counsel in Gaz Métropolitain inc., a case recently upheld by the Quebec Court of Appeal involving systemic discrimination against women seeking access to jobs in a male-dominated workplace. She has been a frequent speaker on human rights and equality both nationally and internationally. Her publications include Proving Discrimination in Canada (1987) and current research involves systemic discrimination and public interest litigation.