CLAIHR: Established in 1992, originally as Canadian Lawyers Association for International Human Rights, Canadian Lawyers for International Human Rights (CLAIHR) is a non-profit, non-partisan, non-governmental charitable organization, established to promote international human rights, within and in connection to Canada.

It is governed by a Board of Directors who meets monthly and holds annual meeting open to all members. There is also a distinguished Advisory Board.

James Yap – President

James Yap is the President of CLAIHR.

James is a litigator in Toronto specializing in business and human rights. Currently, he is one of the counsel for the plaintiffs in Araya v. Nevsun Resources Ltd., a claim involving allegations of slavery, torture, forced labour, and crimes against humanity at a Canadian-owned gold mine in Eritrea. He has published several scholarly articles on business and human rights, and has presented on the topic at various venues in Canada and around the world, including the University of Toronto, the Université de Montréal, the United Nations, and the House of Lords. He has also advised numerous NGOs on the subject, including EarthRights International, the American Bar Association, the Justice and Corporate Accountability Project, and Above Ground.

James has also worked for international organizations such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and ECPAT International. He holds a Juris Doctor from Osgoode Hall Law School, where he graduated with various class prizes and the Silver Medal, and a Master of Laws from Yale Law School. He clerked at the Supreme Court of Canada for Justice Ian Binnie. James speaks French, Spanish, German, and Mandarin.

Florence Au – Treasurer

Florence Au joined CLAIHR in the Fall of 2010 as the Treasurer. She is currently an analyst at Northland Power Inc. a clean energy developer based in Toronto. In that capacity she helps to evaluate the economic feasibility of power projects and eventually securing the capital needed for each transaction. Previously she interned at the United Nations Institute of Training and Research and with Asia Catalyst, a non-profit based in New York City. Florence studied Finance at the University of Toronto and graduated with a Master of Science from New York University in Environment and Energy. She is also a CFA Charterholder.

Heather Cohen

Heather joined CLAIHR’s Board in 2014. She is employed as legal counsel in the market regulation branch of the Ontario Securities Commission. Prior to her role at the OSC, she worked for Legal Aid, non-profits, the United Nations, and a large international law firm. She has drafted submissions for all levels of court in Ontario and for both the Canadian and American supreme courts. Her publications have focused on international, securities, and corporate corruption law, as well as responsible investing.

Heather obtained her Juris Doctor (JD) from the University of Toronto with an exchange to the University of Amsterdam where she completed an internship with the Zupljanin defence team at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. She holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) from McMaster University and is conversational in Spanish.

Marina Mandal

Marina is Vice President, Banking Transformation and Strategy at the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA) where she oversees analysis and strategy around issues relating to innovation in financial services. Marina has been with the CBA since 2007, holding progressively senior roles in the financial affairs and legal divisions before joining the executive team.

Prior to joining the CBA, Marina started her legal career at a Bay Street firm, working primarily in the areas of corporate and securities law. Marina holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from Queen’s University and a Juris Doctor from the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto. She has also completed the Advanced Managers Course at the Schulich School of Business at York University and the Canadian Securities Course. In recent years, Marina has sat on two other non-profit boards as a representative of the Canadian Bankers Association.

Tamara Morgenthau

Tamara is a Clinical Teaching Fellow in the International Human Rights Law Clinic at Berkeley Law School. Prior to this role, Tamara was a Bertha Legal Fellow with EarthRights International (ERI) where she worked on transnational corporate accountability cases, supporting communities defending their human rights and their environment. Tamara has also worked on international human rights cases and projects, including those seeking justice and accountability for abuses caused by business operations, with the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Canadian Centre for International Justice, the Center for Public Interest Law in Accra, and NYU’s Global Justice Clinic.

Tamara has also worked in the area of migrants’ rights. She previously worked at at Lorne Waldman & Associates in Toronto, where she represented clients in immigration and refugee matters. She also represented public interest groups in interventions before appellate courts and the Supreme Court of Canada. Tamara clerked at the Federal Court of Canada.Tamara received her J.D. from the University of Ottawa and a Master of Laws from New York University.

Miekela Singh

Miekela is an associate in corporate governance with the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan where she engages with publicly listed companies on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues to promote responsible investments at the fund.

Previously, Miekela worked at Sustainalytics as an ESG associate covering the financial sector. She is called to the bar in Ontario and articled with a multinational law firm. In the past, Miekela has worked to support the Philippe Kirsch Institute as a Business and Human Rights Fellow and the Justice and Corporate Accountability Project (JCAP) through Osgoode Hall. Prior to law school, Miekela completed her MSc at the London School of Economics in Global Governance.

Juda Strawczynski

Juda Strawczynski served as President of CLAIHR from summer 2013 to January 2018. He is Strategic Policy Counsel at the Law Society of Upper Canada. Prior to joining the Law Society, Juda practiced litigation at two litigation boutiques. He also served as a Fellow at Physicians for Human Rights in Cambridge, MA, and as a Law Clerk at the Federal Court in Ottawa. Juda was also previously a Director of the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation. Juda has a Bachelor of Arts from McGill University in Humanistic Studies and International Development Studies, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Toronto.

Elisa Suppa

Elisa Suppa is Senior Advisor for Strategy and Research with Telefilm Canada where she focuses on strategic content creation, business and brand development, policy and stakeholder partnerships. She joined CLAIHR as a volunteer board member in 2012 and is committed to supporting and advancing the organization’s objectives. Her work in media and brand development began as Executive Producer with Spafax, an international company, curating content and media product for airline clients. Elisa has served as a volunteer in various capacities with – The National Ballet of Canada, the board of the CNIB, Big Sisters (Toronto), and fundraising for CPPS Mission Projects in Tanzania.  She has worked in PR and Marketing with Carnegie Hall and the Manhattan Theater Club in New York City, and holds a master’s degree in Arts Administration from New York University.

Dule Vicovac

R.D. Vicovac is a Legal Officer with the Human Rights Advisory Panel, United Nations Mission in Kosovo. Prior to this, he worked as a lawyer in Winnipeg Manitoba, and for 8 years served in a variety of legal positions with the United Nations in a post-conflict environment. He also spent another 4 years as a Senior Legal Expert in a number of Human Rights projects funded by the European Union, providing assistance to persons displaced by conflict and in developing the capacity of The Ministry for Human & Minority Rights in Serbia. He has a Juris Doctor degree from Hamline School of Law in Minnesota, with studies also completed at the University of Manitoba and at Oxford University. His article titled, Challenges in Providing Legal Aid to Persons Displaced Following an Armed Conflict, Lessons Learned from Kosovo was published by the Oxford Journal for Human Rights Practice.