The Genocide Convention and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Sixty-Five Years Later: What have we learned? What must we do?


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

The Faculty of Law and the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism welcome the Hon. Irwin Cotler who will deliver the annual René Cassin Lecture in Human Rights.

Join us for an inspiring conference by the Hon. Irwin Cotler. A cocktail will follow in the Common Room.

A request for accreditation has been made to the Barreau du Québec for 1.5 hours of CLE.

RSVP: [at]

About the lecturer

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.

Back to top