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 an annual meeting open to all members.
James Yap – President
James is a Toronto-based lawyer specializing in international human rights and transnational corporate accountability. He represents plaintiffs in all kinds of human rights and social justice claims, with a focus on cases that raise novel and/or complex issues of transnational justice. In the course of his work he has:
- Acted as plaintiff’s counsel in some of the key Canadian precedents on these topics, such as Nevsun Resources Ltd. v. Araya and Toussaint v. Canada.
- Advised numerous NGOs and international organizations, including Amnesty International, EarthRights International, the American Bar Association, the Justice and Corporate Accountability Project, and Above Ground.
- Presented at various venues in Canada and around the world, including Harvard University, the Université de Montréal, the United Nations, and the House of Lords.
- Published several scholarly articles on topics relating to international human rights and transnational corporate accountability.
In addition to being President of CLAIHR, he also sits on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Council for International Law (CCIL). He also teaches international human rights law at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University.
James 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. After completing his JD he clerked at the Supreme Court of Canada for Justice Ian Binnie. James also holds a BSc in Computer Science and Cognitive Science from a university in Montreal presently named in honour of a former slaveholder.
Florence Au – Treasurer
Florence Au has been CLAIHR’s Treasurer since 2010. She is currently working at Infrastructure Ontario, a Provincial government agency.
Florence studied Finance at the University of Toronto and graduated with a Master of Science from New York University. She is a CFA Charterholder.
Lindsay is a lawyer licensed to practice in New York and the District of Columbia. She is a teaching fellow and supervisory attorney at Georgetown’s Environmental Law & Justice Clinic, where she supervises students working on environmental issues and co-teaches a seminar on environmental law and justice. Lindsay was previously a Bertha Justice Legal Fellow at EarthRights International, a Legal Fellow at the Center for Justice and Accountability and a student litigator in the Harvard International Human Rights Clinic, where she litigated cases against corporations and governments, including claims for human rights abuses against the former Presidents of Bolivia and Sri Lanka, a class action against a banana company for funding Colombian paramilitaries, a tort case against the IFC for financing a toxic power plant, and TVPA cases arising out of Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Liberia, Haiti, and Argentina. Lindsay holds a J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School, where she received the David Grossman Exemplary Clinic Team award and a Dean’s Award for Community Leadership. Prior to law school, Lindsay spent three years working in international development in Ghana. She is passionate about holding Canadian corporations to account for their human rights violations and environmental justice.
Andrew (he/him) is a Montreal-based civil litigator with over nine years of experience assisting workers, human rights victims, and communities with complex legal issues. He chairs CLAIHR’s Strategy and Organization Committee.
After completing his legal studies at McGill Faculty of Law, Andrew began his career in 2012 at a Quebec law firm specializing in class action and public interest litigation. As a litigator there, he represented consumers, workers, and human rights victims in class actions before all levels of court in Quebec.
In 2018, Andrew started his own law firm to assist underrepresented people to navigate the legal system and defend their interests. He has since devoted part of his practice to prosecuting civil suits for migrant workers who have experienced wage theft, human trafficking, and forced labour.
Throughout his career, Andrew has worked with victims and communities dealing with the social and environmental impacts caused by the operations of Canadian companies overseas. He has counselled numerous NGOs on business and human rights and private international law, including the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability on its draft model human rights and environmental due diligence law.
Before beginning his career as an advocate in Quebec, Andrew worked for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the Permanent Mission of Canada to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Isabel Dávila Pereira
Isabel (she/her) is originally from Loja, Ecuador and currently lives in Treaty 3 territory in Kenora, Canada. She is a lawyer at Major Sobiski Moffatt LLP, a firm specializing in legal services relating to Indigenous law and policy and Aboriginal law. As part of the law firm, she works with First Nations, Indigenous individuals, organizations, and institutions in Treaty 3, 5, and 9, in matters relating to Aboriginal and Treaty rights, land claims, natural resources development, industry agreements, environmental stewardship, health and governance development, economic development and business transactions. She also chairs CLAIHR’s Education Committee.
Isabel works pro-bono with the Justice and Corporate Accountability Project (JCAP), a volunteer legal clinic that cultivates expertise in supporting Indigenous and campesino communities in the Americas and communities in Africa. She is a law graduate from Osgoode Hall Law School, with a specialization in International, Transnational and Comparative Law. While at Osgoode, Isabel was part of the Environmental Justice and Sustainability Clinic, and focused her research on environmental law and rights, particularly on the Rights of Nature framework.
Ankita Gupta is a lawyer licensed to practice in Ontario currently pursuing her LL.M. at Harvard Law School as a John Peters Humphrey Fellow. She also chairs CLAIHR’s Advocacy Committee.
Ankita holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Toronto and Juris Doctor from Osgoode Hall Law School, where she graduated in the top 2% of her class and received various course prizes. After completing law school, Ankita clerked at the Supreme Court of Canada for Chief Justice Richard Wagner and the Court of Appeal for Ontario for Justices Sarah E. Pepall, David M. Brown and Benjamin Zarnett. Ankita also worked two summers at Davies, Ward, Phillips & Vineberg LLP, practicing in their corporate, competition, environment and litigation practice groups, and has worked in accounting, finance, and marketing roles at Deloitte Canada, Unilever, and Hershey.
Ankita’s research interests include corporate governance, corporate law, securities regulation, and business and human rights. She has published on the topic and presented her research in conferences in Canada, France and Switzerland. A past competitor herself, Ankita also coaches Osgoode’s Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition team.
Jesse Isaac Gutman
Jesse is a union-side labour lawyer in Toronto practising in English and French. He is the President of the Jur-Ed Foundation and the host/producer of its podcast of the same name. Jesse was previously a high school teacher in Quebec and is a part-time Klezmer musician.
Jesse holds BA (Honours), LLB, and BCL degrees from McGill University. He is passionate about human rights and international solidarity.
Tamara Morgenthau is a Senior Attorney with the Center for International Environmental Law’s Climate and Energy Program. Prior to joining CIEL, Tamara was a Clinical Teaching Fellow at the International Human Rights Law Clinic at UC Berkeley School of Law, and a Bertha Legal Fellow with EarthRights International. Tamara began her legal career as an immigration and refugee lawyer at Waldman & Associates in Toronto.
Tamara has worked with individuals and communities around the world to support their pursuit for justice, accountability, and protection of their human rights. In doing so, she has litigated and supported cases before domestic courts and regional and international human rights bodies.
Tamara holds a J.D. from the University of Ottawa, an LL.M. from NYU School of Law, M.A. (International Affairs) from Carleton University’s Norman Paterson School of International Affairs and a B.A. in Political Science and Media Information and Technoculture from the University of Western Ontario.
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.
Garrett practices criminal defence as a legal aid lawyer in Toronto. A proud union member, he co-led the successful effort to unionize his cohort of articling students and later was an elected delegate of the union’s local committee representing legal aid lawyers. He has also organized with the Law Union of Ontario, a bar of progressive legal professionals.
He was recently based in Berlin, completing an LL.M. in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law. His master’s thesis explored the potential for prosecution of everyday human rights abuses as crimes against humanity. During this time he also worked with the Migration team at the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights.
Garrett has a journalism degree from Carleton University and did his undergraduate law studies at McGill University.
His artistic passion is theatre (especially musical theater), both in an audience and on stage.