Quick Links

Fellows and researchers

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.

Noam Schimmel

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. Noam Schimmel was in residence September-December 2014, and remained as a visiting fellow until May 2015. Noam was awarded a Diplomacy and Diversity Fellowship by the Humanity in Action Foundation. The fellowship will take place in  June of 2015 and will examine human rights issues in the United States, France and Germany and how they impact national and international policy and diplomacy.

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 researches 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. Schimmel was an O'Brien Fellow in Residence during the summer and fall of 2014 and a Visiting Fellow from January to May 2015.


O'Brien Fellows in Residence

Sarwat Dalal Bashi

In residence April to October 2016.

Sarwat Dalal Bashi is an international human rights and justice specialist with a wide experience in the field of civil society. He worked at the International Rescue Committee in Turkey for more than two years as a Protection and Rule of Law Manager. In 2015, Sarwat became a Fellow of the United Nations Alliance of Civilization (UNAOC) and travelled to the United States, Germany, Bosnia and Belgium to do research and provide advice on migration and integration issues. Prior to his UNAOC role, he worked as a Research Consultant for Human Rights Watch, spending more than a year in the emergency division in northern Syria, investigating, documenting and exposing human rights violations in crisis situations on a rapid-response basis.

Sarwat holds a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Aleppo, 2005; he has practiced law and legal consultancy for eight years, specializing in criminal and human rights cases. He was honored by the Syrian Bar Association as a Master Lawyer in 2008. He has a diverse portfolio of certificates, such as Protection and Human Rights, International Organization Management, and Conflict/Interfaith Conflict Management and Negotiation – from UNHCR, IRC, University of Geneva, Harvard University, U.S. Institute of Peace, and International Relations and Security Network, respectively. In 2008, he published International Human Rights and Development, a book n which he reflected on the situation of Middle Eastern countries.

Claudia Geiringer

Claudia GeirangerIn residence September to November 2016

Professor Claudia Geiringer holds the Chair in Public Law at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, and is the co-Director of the New Zealand Centre for Public Law. She holds an LLM from Columbia Law School (where she was a human rights fellow, a Fulbright Scholar, an Ethel Benjamin Scholar and a James Kent Scholar).

Professor Geiringer has a particular research interest in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990, as well as other instances of the “Commonwealth model” of human rights protection. She has worked for both the New Zealand and Victorian governments, advising on their respective statutory human rights charters, and appearing in human rights litigation before the New Zealand and Victorian courts.

She presently holds a NZ$504,000 three-year research grant from the Royal Society of New Zealand to conduct an evaluation of the effectiveness of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act.

Shivaun Quinlivan

Shivaun QuinlivanIn residence August to December 2016

Dr Shivaun Quinlivan is a graduate of NUI, Galway, King’s College London, The Honourable Society of King’s Inns and Trinity College Dublin.  She has been a lecturer at the School of Law, NUI Galway since September 2000 where she teaches primarily in the area of Constitutional Law and Disability Law and Policy. 

Shivaun’s research interests focus on the rights of people with disabilities, with a particular focus on education and employment.  In that capacity she has worked with and for a range of statutory and other agencies in Ireland and Europe: including the Equality Authority, the National Council for Special Education, the Association of Higher Education Access and Disability, the Health Service Executive as well as working on a number of European Commission funded projects.  

Shivaun was the first ever Director of the LLM in International and Comparative Disability Law and Policy and in that capacity she developed with colleagues the overall LLM and teaches a module on Inclusive Education Law and Policy.  She is a member of the management committee of the Centre for Disability Law Reform in NUI Galway. 

Shivaun is currently editing a volume on the “The Right to Inclusive Education in International Human Rights Law.” 

Faisal Siddiqi

Faisal SiddiqiIn residence September to November 2016

Mr. Faisal Siddiqi did a BSC in Sociology from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a BA in Law and MA from the University of Cambridge.

Mr. Siddiqi is a practicing lawyer of the High Courts and Supreme Court of Pakistan. He is a former Advisor/Consultant to the Attorney General for Pakistan. He is also a Board Member of the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER), Karachi, and is a Founding Trustee of the Legal Aid Foundation for Victims of Rape and Sexual Assault.

He, and his law firm, were also actively involved in the legal and political movement (2007 to 2009) for the successful restoration of the deposed Pakistani Superior Court judges, unconstitutionally suspended and removed by General Pervez Musharraf.   

He has a varied general litigation practice in constitutional, civil and criminal law and specializes in pro-bono human rights litigation. His well-known human rights cases include the Baldia Factory fire case (case seeking justice and compensation for the 255 deceased workers of a 2012 factory fire in Pakistan), numerous cases representing victims of rape and gang rape, cases involving maladministration and lack of governance, cases involving the right to electricity and education etc.


O'Brien Graduate Fellows

  • Vanessa Clermont-Isabelle (See Bio on Graduate Students page)
  • Alvaro Córdova (See Bio on Graduate Students page)
  • Rokeya Chowdhry (See Bio on Graduate Students page)
  • Marika Giles Samson (See Bio on Graduate Students page)
  • Claris Harbon (See Bio on Graduate Students & Postdocs page)
  • Róisín Hennessy (See Bio on Graduate Students & Postdocs page)
  • Sabaa Khan (See Bio on Graduate Students & Postdocs page)
  • Shimelis Kene (See Bio on Graduate Students & Postdocs page)
  • Bwighane Mwenifumbo (See Bio on Graduate Students & Postdocs page)
  • Muhammad Rezaur Rahman (See Bio on Graduate Students & Postdocs 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 Bio on Graduate Students & Postdocs page)
  • Marina Sharpe (See Bio on Graduate Students & Postdocs page)
  • Aderomola Adeola (See Bio on Graduate Students & Postdocs page)

Visiting Fellows

Portrait: Tetyana KrupiyTetyana Krupiy - September 2016 - September 2017

Tanya's current research project focuses on determining under what circumstances corporation managers, corporate shareholders and Ministry of Defence officials may be held accountable when a lethal autonomous weapons system malfunctions and as a result triggers an international crime.

Previously, she worked on issues concerning the protection of vulnerable individuals.

Geneviève Renard Painter - September 2016 – August 2017

Geneviève PainterGeneviève Renard Painter is a post-doctoral fellow at McGill University’s Faculty of Law, supported by the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture. She holds a PhD in Jurisprudence and Social Policy from the University of California Berkeley and degrees in common and civil law from McGill University. Admitted to practice law in Quebec, she has worked in aboriginal, constitutional, and human rights law. Her teaching and research interests focus on Indigeneity, legal history, feminist legal theory, international law, and constitutional law.

Geneviève’s dissertation and book project explores the transformation of a hard political question into a problem of fundamental human rights. Starting from a Canadian law about Indigenous marriage, the dissertation tracks the gradual invention of a conflict between the equality rights of Indigenous women and the sovereignty of Indigenous nations. When this invented conflict moved from the political arena to litigation, the courts wrote an official version of history, and the law became a language for taming rival Indigenous sovereignties and declaring Canadian state sovereignty to be complete. Geneviève’s post-doctoral project moves to the 19th century and to the role of competing understandings of temporality in the development of laws about belonging in Canada. She is currently researching the relationship between law, time, and language in a selection of 19th century Canadian legal processes about race, gender, sexuality, and land.

Thun Saray - 2016-2017

Thun SarayThun Saray studied economics during the 1970s at the University of Phnom Penh and worked at the Sociology Institute during the following decade. He is founder and President of ADHOC, the first human rights advocacy NGO in Cambodia. ADHOC has been protecting and promoting human rights since its inception in 1992.

ADHOC is also a pioneer in opening the political space for civil society organizations in Cambodia, enabling new NGOs to emerge and flourish after the Khmer Rouge and communist regimes. He plays an integral role in Cambodian civil society. Indeed, Thun Saray is founder and Chair of the Board of Directors of the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC, a coalition of Cambodian Human Rights NGOs), the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (COMFREL, a coalition of Cambodian electoral monitoring NGOs), and a former member of the Board of many other NGOs.

Every year, he coordinates and acts as an editor of many thematic reports on human rights published by his organization. Thun Saray has twice been a political prisoner in Cambodia (1975-1976; 1990-1991), including once under the Khmer Rouge regime. For more than 20 years, Thun Saray has been a tireless advocate for rights and civil liberties in Cambodia.

Cassandra Steer - September 2016 - September 2017

Portrait: Cassandra SteerDr. Cassandra Steer is the Executive Director of Women in International Security (WIIS) Canada, and a Wainwright Fellow at the McGill Faculty of Law. Formerly she was the Executive Director of the McGill Institute of Air and Space Law, and her current main research interest is the application of the law of armed conflict to military uses of outer space. Prior to coming to Canada at the beginning of 2015, Cassandra was a Junior Professor at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands for 8 years, teaching criminal law, international criminal law, public international law, and legal research methods.

She holds a B.A. (Philosophy) from the University of New South Wales, undergraduate and LLM degrees in Dutch Law and International Law from the University of Amsterdam, and a PhD in International Criminal Law. She has interned at the International Criminal Court under Judge Navi Pillay in 2004, and been a Visiting Researcher at universities in Argentina, Canada, Germany and the USA, where she was also a Fulbright Scholar.

Currently Cassandra Steer is the member for Canada on the International Law Association Space Law Committee, the Secretary of the IAF Space Security Committee, and a member of the International Institute of Space Law, Women in Aerospace, the Centre for International Peace and Security Studies, the NATO Association of Canada, and the International Society for Military Law and the Law of War.


Rathlyn Disability & the Law Program Coordinators

Simone Cavanaugh - 2016-2017

Simone CavanaughSimone is a fourth year law student completing a major in International Human Rights and Development at McGill University as a Loran Scholar. She has recently completed a human rights internship at the Disability Federation of Ireland and the Center for Disability Law and Policy at the National University of Ireland in Galway. Simone is also Equity Commissionner for the Student’s Society of McGill University and a Coordinator of Women in House McGill, a program that seeks to encourage female participation in Canadian politics.

Simone has been a disability rights advocate since a very young age. She is a Childhood Arthritis spokesperson for the Arthritis Society, was the coordinator of the Kids on the Move Camp for children with rheumatological diseases and Viomax, a weekend activities program for children with special needs. Simone is also the founding director of Pivot International, a non-profit organization that provides adapted equipment and access to medical services for children with disabilities in Nicaragua with the goal of helping them achieve their full potential. Simone is eager to forge collaborations and plan an innovative and exciting year for the Disability and Human Rights Initiative.

Melissa Moor - 2016-2017

Melissa MoorMelissa is a third year law student at McGill University. She previously studied education at Queen’s University and political science at the University of Ottawa. Before beginning at McGill, Melissa worked for the House of Commons and participated in the Canadian Political Science Association’s Parliamentary Internship Program. She has also worked in policy at Universities Canada. At the Faculty, Melissa is a member of the 2017 Wilson Moot team, a tutorial leader for first year students and a part of the Law Peer-to-Peer Support program.

Melissa has a long-standing interest in disability rights and has worked for the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorder Alliance and the student-run Centre for Students with Disabilities at the University of Ottawa. She is a long-time Best Buddies volunteer and worked with youth with disabilities for several summers at Easter Seals Ontario’s Camp Merrywood. Melissa looks forward to continuing to learn about disability law through the 2016-2017 Disability and Human Rights Initiative.