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Event: Diplomatic Reflections on Afghanistan – March 24

On March 24, 2010, CLAIHR is proud to co-sponsor with the Law Society of Upper Canada an event entitled Peace, Reconciliation and Justice: The Afghanistan Experience Reflections of a Canadian Diplomat. The press release follows.

After three decades of social and political unrest, Afghanistan has an historic opportunity to break with the past and set the direction of its future. One of Canada’s esteemed former diplomats and the first-ever ambassador to Afghanistan will deliver a keynote address at the Law Society on March 24, 2010 to reflect on his mission to Afghanistan and the prospects of achieving peace in that country.

By |March 21st, 2010|News Releases|

CLAIHR and Hot Docs

In the Spring of 2009, CLAIHR’s innovative spirit found new expression in its exciting new alliance with the Hot Docs Film Festival, North America’s largest documentary film festival which showcases films and filmmakers from over 35 countries around the world.

As a premiere festival sponsor, CLAIHR proudly presented Mugabe and the White African, the true story of white African farmer Michael Campbell’s desperate struggle to keep his farm in the face of brutal violence by Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe.

By |March 2nd, 2010|News Releases|

The Hot Docs Film Festival – The Canadian International Documentary Festival

In the Spring of 2009, CLAIHR’s innovative spirit found new expression in its exciting new alliance with the Hot Docs Film Festival, North America’s largest documentary film festival which showcases films and filmmakers from over 35 countries around the world.

By |February 16th, 2010|News Releases|

CLAIHR’s Student Chapters

CLAIHR has one of the largest networks of law student chapters among Canadian NGOs. Over the years, we have had presence in 12 law schools around the country. Currently, the most active Chapters are located at the Universities of British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Western Ontario, Windsor as well as Queen’s University Faculty of Law.

CLAIHR’s philosophy is to allow its Student Chapters to retain significant autonomy. This stimulates the diversity of projects, that range from poker tournaments to film festivals to research projects.

Ottawa Chapter is famous for organizing its Annual Global Generations Conference. The Conference has been providing opportunities to students to present their paper to a large likeminded audience since 2003.

Queen’s and Western Chapters bring together students and professors from all levels and departments of their respective universities to their Human Rights film festivals. The film viewings focus on specific issues related to human rights violations around the world. They are accompanied by presentations from famous speakers and roundtable discussions where everyone can share their thoughts on the issues raised in the films.

This year, our new UBC Chapter will be holding a Poker Tournament to raise funds for its First Human Rights Film Festival. The Festival is expected to be held at the end of the academic year. Other Chapters also hold various fundraising events, such as extremely popular Quiz Nights, and Speaker Series that focus on international human rights and politics.

This year, the University of New Brunswick Chapter is successfully continuing the research project initiated at the University of Toronto Chapter two years ago. The Project provides students with an opportunity to be involved in historical, policy and legal research related to the Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Students in these chapters collect and analyze data on international experience in creating and operating similar Commissions.

By |February 15th, 2010|Student News|

Responsibility to Protect Panel Discussion – April 2009

Early last year, CLAIHR was approached by the Law Society of Upper Canada to partner an event on the “Reconciling State Sovereignty with the Global Responsibility to Protect”. In approaching CLAIHR, the Law Society recognized the legitimacy of the organization’s role in the international human rights discourse.

By |February 15th, 2010|News Releases|

Désiré Munyaneza

On 29 October 2009, Désiré Munyaneza, a 42 year old Rwandan businessman, became the first person to be convicted under the Canadian Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act (the “Act”)which came into force in 2001. He has been sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for 25 years. He now seeks to appeal his conviction and sentence before the Quebec Court of Appeal.

By |February 15th, 2010|News Releases|

Looking Forward to 2010

With the success of CLAIHR’s events and undertakings in 2009, 2010 looks to be an exciting year. In addition to CLAIHR’s continued observation of the Munyaneza case, there are plans to submit a motion to intervene in the case. A variety of CLAIHR’s Student Chapters plan on showing films on relevant human rights topics – either through organizing a film festival or with individual viewings.

By |February 10th, 2010|News Releases|

New Board Members

Anatoly Vlasov

Anatoly Vlasov joined CLAIHR’s board in July 2009. He is in private practice in Toronto and has experience working for the defence at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague. With CLAIHR, Anatoly has taken over responsibility for CLAIHR’s Student Chapters.

Antoinette Issa

Antoinette Issa holds a LLB and BCL from McGill University, and she specialized in Criminal Law and International Criminal Law for her LLM from York University. She has served as a trial and appeal counsel on the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia on the case that proclaimed to the Srebrenica genocide. Antoinette further presented to the Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian persecutors on the procedural issues of war crime trials. She presently works for the Public Prosecution Service of Canada as a federal crown. Her interest lies in ICL and IHL and has been on CLAIHR’s board since September of 2009 in pursuit of developing such laws further.

David Andrews

David Andrews is a technology and marketing consultant who runs Ryatta Group, a company specializing in the online marketing of luxury goods. He holds an MBA from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. David will assume responsibility for improving CLAIHR’s marketing, website and social media offerings.

By |February 10th, 2010|News Releases|

Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission


As part of the national Indian Residential Schools Settlement reached in 2006, a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (the “TRC”) will be established in early 2008. The TRC will be part of an overall holistic and comprehensive response to the Indian Residential School (”IRS”) legacy in Canada with a view to acknowledging and documenting the injustices and harms experienced by Aboriginal peoples as result of forced attendance at the schools for almost a century.

While the TRC will not have judicial or inquisitorial powers and will not have jurisdiction to order reparations or grant amnesties, CLAIHR is of the view that it has the potential to play a critical role in truth telling, public education, creation of a historical record of past violations of human rights in Canada and providing recommendations for the future relationship between Canada and its Aboriginal peoples. Accordingly, CLAIHR will monitor and periodically report on the work of the TRC and its compliance and acknowledgement of various international human rights norms.

By |December 15th, 2009|Our Work|

The First Nations Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Over the past two years, CLAIHR has closely followed the progress of the First Nations Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) with interest. In 2008 and 2009, CLAIHR was pleased to partner with the Human Rights Clinic at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law to conduct research regarding not only Canada’s First Nations TRC, but TRC’s around the world. CLAIHR was also honoured to speak to the students at St. Thomas Acquinas Secondary School in Oakville last May at the request of a student in the human rights class.

The residential schools, which are the subject of the TRC, were notorious for abuse and neglect of First Nations children. The children were forcibly sent to the schools, often hours away from their families, and were punished if they were caught practicing their religion, speaking their native language, among other reasons. An astounding number of children at the schools contracted tuberculosis, resulting in many deaths.

The main purpose of the schools was to assimilate aboriginal children into the dominant Anglo-Saxon culture of the rest of Canada. As Stephen Harper eloquently stated in his apology, “these objectives were based on the assumption aboriginal cultures and spiritual beliefs were inferior and unequal. Indeed, some sought, as it was infamously said, ‘to kill the Indian in the child.’ Today, we recognize that this policy of assimilation was wrong, has caused great harm, and has no place in our country.”

The First Nations Truth and Reconciliation Project officially began in June of 2008, a year prior to Stephen Harper’s apology. The purpose of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in Canada is to rectify knowledge and experiences from the IRS. Ultimately, the First Nations are searching for a truth to continue the healing process for those who may have been former students of the IRS and for all aboriginals that have experienced injustice. The TRC also hopes to offer recommendations to the government of Canada.

By |December 15th, 2009|News Releases|