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Events 2012-2013

Disability, Human Rights and the Law 2012-2013

The Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism ran a seminar series on selected issues of human rights and disability law, as a way to engage in one of the most compelling human rights issues of our day, consistent with the Faculty of Law’s tradition of analysis, scholarship and promotion of human rights and social justice.

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9 November 2012 - 'Race' Literacy and the Legal Profession: An Ethical Imperative for Cap, Bar, and Bench

The Annie MacDonald Langstaff Workshop Series, in association with the McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism, and the Black Law Students’ Association of McGill presented Dr. Esmeralda M.A. Thornhill, Professor, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University & O'Brien Fellow in Residence, McGill Centre for Human Rights & Legal Pluralism.

About the speaker

Lawyer, Human Rights and Anti-Racist Educator, Dr. Esmeralda Thornhill is a Full Professor of Law at Dalhousie University. From 1996-2002, she was the first holder of the James Robinson Johnston Endowed Chair in Black Canadian Studies at Dalhousie University, a national initiative to “bring Black culture, reality, and perspectives into the Academy.” Her expertise and writings on ‘race’ are recognized both nationally and internationally by academics and policy-makers alike such as the United Nations and UNESCO and institutions of higher of learning including University of West Indies (Barbados, Trinidad), McGill, Concordia, UBC, Windsor, Western Ontario, Temple, Cheyney, UNC (Chapel Hill), Wellesley, Hamilton College and Central Connecticut State where she has lectured.

Focus online, November 2012: Call to Cap, Bar and Bench.

6 February 2013 - René Cassin Lecture - The Genocide Convention and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Sixty-Five Years Later: What have we learned? What must we do?

Accredited by the Barreau du Québec for 1.5 hours of CLE. Activity no. 10064362.

About the speaker

Irwin Cotler is a Member of the Canadian Parliament, Emeritus Professor of Law at McGill University, and former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, where he introduced landmark legislation in the areas of human trafficking, children’s rights and same-sex marriage. He is Vice-Chair of both the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights and the Subcommittee on International Human Rights in the Canadian Parliament.

A constitutional and comparative law scholar, Prof. Cotler has litigated every section of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms – including landmark cases in the areas of free speech, freedom of religion, women's rights, minority rights, and war crimes justice – and is the recipient of ten honorary doctorates and numerous awards for his pioneering work in peace law and human rights advocacy, including the Order of Canada. He previously led the Canadian Delegation to the Stockholm International Forum on the Prevention of Genocide.

At present, Prof. Cotler is Co-Chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Group for Human Rights in Iran, International Chair of the Responsibility to Prevent Coalition and Chair of the All-Party Save Darfur Coalition. He has represented political prisoners all over the world, including Andrei Sakharov and Natan Sharansky in the former Soviet Union, Nelson Mandela in South Africa, Jacobo Timmerman in Argentina, and Professor Saad Edin Ibrahim in Egypt. More recently, he represented imprisoned Egyptian blogger Maikel Nabil, and is also a member of the international legal team of two Chinese political prisoners – 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo, and Gao Zhisheng. For his work representing political prisoners, he was characterized as “counsel for the oppressed” by Canada’s national magazine, Macleans, and “freedom’s counsel” by the Oslo Freedom Forum.

Cassin Lectureship

The René Cassin Lectureship is organized by the McGill Faculty of Law. In 1988, the Alliance Isréalite Universelle established this Lectureship to mark the centenary of the birth of René Cassin, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1968. The Alliance Isréalite Universelle is one of the oldest and most distinguished human rights organizations, having been founded in Paris in 1860. René Cassin was its president from 1943 to 1969.


From Field to Faculty 2013

Each year, the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism sends interns to work with human rights organizations in Canada and abroad. The Field to Faculty Student Speaker Series is an opportunity for returning interns to share their experiences.

15 February 2013: Truth, Justice and Reconciliation

27 February 2013: Anti-discrimination and Alternative Means of Justice

20 March 2013: Health, Disabilities and Human rights: Perspectives from Home and Away

27 March 2013Legal and Extralegal Strategies for Combatting Discrimination and Violence against Women and LGBT Minorities