Democracy, Human Rights and the Fragility of Freedom


Published: 1Mar2013

International human rights experts convene at Echenberg Family Global Conference to address democratic citizenship and the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms on a global scale

How do we bridge the gap between the theory of human rights and the complex social, political and economic realities of a turbulent and interconnected world?

The McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism (CHRLP) and the McGill Faculty of Law will host the Echenberg Family Conference, Democracy, Human Rights and the Fragility of Freedom”. The three-day event will bring together more than two dozen of the world’s top figures in human rights to examine democratic citizenship and the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms. The third in a series of five conferences made possible by the generous support of Penny and Gordon Echenberg, the event will be held at Centre Mont-Royal, 2200 Mansfield Street, Montreal on March 21-23, 2013.

“The Echenberg Family Conference is an exceptional opportunity to bring together activists, advocates and human rights professionals from across the world in Montreal,” says Nandini Ramanujam, Executive Director, CHRLP.

The conference will be live-streamed: (The event will be held in English).

To explore the unique contribution that young professionals and scholars can make to the promotion of democracy and human rights, both in their own countries and in the international arena, the Centre will also host, before the conference, the third International Forum for Young Leaders, from March 18 to 21, welcoming 25 young leaders from 22 different countries. The Forum will consist of a series of workshops, roundtable discussions, and cultural events aimed at engaging with the spectrum of themes related to the conference Democracy, Human Rights and the Fragility of Freedom.

Confirmed speakers at the Global Conference on Democracy, Human Rights and the Fragility of Freedom include:

Thursday, March 21:

Marina Nemat: Anti-torture activist and author of Prisoner of Tehran
Yang Jianli: Chinese human rights activist and former political prisoner
Fouzia Saeed: Director, Human Rights and Democracy Center in Islamabad, Pakistan
Flora Terah: Kenyan political activist

Friday March 22:

Abdullahi An-Na’im: Internationally recognized scholar of international law, human rights and Islam, Emory University (USA-Sudan)
Yara Sallam: Director, Women Human Rights Defenders Program at Nazra for Feminist Studies (Egypt)
Martin Jacques: Economist, journalist, author of When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order
Radwan Ziadeh: Human rights activist, scholar, and prominent member of the Syrian opposition party

Saturday, March 23:

Aitzaz Ahsan: Pakistani political activist, leader of the 2007 Lawyers’ Movement
Rashida Manjoo: U.N.Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, its Causes and Consequences (South Africa)
Oscar Morales: Colombian organizer of the ‘No Mas FARC’ protests
Kiran Bedi: Social justice activist, anti-corruption advocate, and India’s first female police officer

Panels include:

Democracy and Human Rights: Stories of Engagement and Resilience*

Despite enormous risks and dangers, history teaches us that individuals, working in solidarity with social movements and civil society organizations, have persevered against tremendous odds in seeking democracy and justice.

*free opening plenary session

The Arab Spring: Challenges, Effects and Consequences

The current struggles within the Arab world demonstrate the difficulties and complexities surrounding the establishment of democratic rule. Repression, violence and risks of exclusion and inequality continue to undermine societal transformation towards democracy.

Borderless Technology and New Movements for Social Change

As borders become increasingly diffuse, the technology used to cross these borders has become increasingly powerful.

Echenberg conference:

International Forum for Young Leaders:

Follow the conference on twitter #efchr


Cynthia Lee

Relations avec les médias | Media Relations
Université McGill | McGill University
t. 514.398.6754

cynthia.lee [at]!/McGilluMedia


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