November 30 2019. OTTAWA.
The International Commission of Jurists- Canada (ICJ-C) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2020 Walter Tarnopolsky Human Rights Award, the highest form of recognition for contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights and civil liberties that can be granted by the ICJ-C.
The Walter Tarnopolsky Award recognizes individuals in the legal community, as well as institutions and organizations, for their outstanding national contribution in the field of human rights and civil liberties. Outstanding achievement is measured by the recipients’ level of excellence and initiative, their sustained body of work, peer recognition and the recipients’ broad impact inside and outside the Canadian legal community.
The ICJ-C is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2020 Award is the Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, Renu Mandhane. You can read Ms. Mandhane’s biography here.
The recipient of the 2020 Walter Tarnopolsky Prize will receive her Award in the form of a specially designed medal at a major event in the first part of 2020. Details of which will follow. We encourage those that have been nominated in the past to seek to be re-nominated for 2021 and beyond. Further details on the Award and method of nomination and past recipients can be found at the ICJ-C website here.
Professor Errol Mendes, LSM, O. Ont, FRSC
Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa
Hotel Bonaventure Montreal, 900 Rue de la Gauchetiere Oest, Montreal, QC H5A 1E4
In countries across the world, the rule of law is under threat. What is Canada’s experience? Have courts and administrative bodies been impacted? Join us for an event hosted by the International Commission of Jurists Canada and the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
As stated by former Chief Justice Beverly McLachlan: “...without administrative tribunals, the rule of law in the modern regulatory state would falter and fail.”
Join human rights advocates, jurists and legal experts as we explore the risks facing Canadian judicial and quasi-judicial bodies and preserving independence and the rule of law.
This afternoon event at Hotel Bonaventure, in Montreal, is on the last day of the Council of Canadian Administrative Tribunals' (CCAT) 35th Annual Symposium: Common Challenges, Diverse Solutions: Administrative Justice in a World of Change. This event will take place on May 28, 2019 from 1:45 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.Click here to proceed to the event page for registration.
Marie-Claude Landry, Ad. E., Chief Commissioner of CHRC
The Honourable Justice Elizabeth Corte, former Chief Justice, Court of Québec
Michael Gottheil, Chief of the Commission and Tribunals, Alberta Human Rights Commission
Howard Sapers, International Expert Advisor on Prison Reform, former Federal Correctional Investigator and former Ontario Independent Adviser on Prison Reform.
Charles Murray, New Brunswick Ombud, New Brunswick Ombud’s Office
This event is moderated by Professor Errol P. Mendes, President, International Commission of Jurists-Canada
University of Ottawa, FSS 4007, Social Science Building, 120 University Private, Ottawa, Ontario
Please join us on June 10th, 2019 for our conference titled "Facing Changes in the Military While Respecting the Rule of Law: Emerging Responses and Legal Issues", co-hosted with the University of Ottawa Professional Development Institute. This conference will be a unique one-day program designed to offer high quality presentations and discussions by leading experts on the following topics:
- Military recruiting and retention in the 21st Century;
- Legal/ethical challenges and advantages of key technologies applied to military operations;
- Social media, cybercrime and the military: security issues, extremism, freedom of expression/association, investigations and actions; and
- Operational legal issues associated with how military forces face contemporary and emerging threats to national security
This conference is eligible for 7 substantive CPD hours, and is eligible to go towards the requirements of the S.E.T. certificate of professional development of the Institute of Professional Development. For more information, or to register for this conference, please follow this link to the event page.
Seasons greetings from ICJ Canada,
2018 was an eventful year, and we would like to take this opportunity to reflect on the work we have done protecting human rights, the rule of law, and the independence of the judiciary. We would also like to look to 2019 and give our members a hint of what we have planned ahead.
2018 in Review
ICJ Canada was active in responding to pressing issues being faced both within Canada and internationally.
In April, ICJ Canada and CIPS hosted NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg for a town hall discussion on the importance of NATO during a time in which the rules-based international order is being challenged:
In May, we hosted a High Level Discussion on the Role of the Canadian Ombuds Person for Responsible Enterprise that attracted participants from the private sector, civil society, and regulators:
In October, we supported Senator Kim Pate in her call against mandatory minimum penalties through Bill S-251, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (independence of the judiciary) and the make related amendments) :
ICJ Canada also continues to take a principled stance in calling for action against the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya people in Myanmar alongside our civil society partners from across the world. Board Member John Packer in particular was quite busy on this file, and was featured in an article from the Globe and Mail on the topic. In August, we hosted a symposium on the Rohingya Crisis:
ICJ Canada President Professor Errol Mendes has working on the topic of press freedom and the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashaggi. Professor Mendes participated in a news conference with former justice minister Irwin Cotler and several Parliamentarians on November 8th, 2018. Professor Mendes also contributed an Op-ed to the Globe and Mail that you can read here.
Members of ICJ Canada also had distinguished years individually. Professor Mendes received a Senate 150th Anniversary Medal in recognition of his work on the rule of law, human rights, and anti-discrimination. ICJ Canada Board Member Pierre Dalphond was appointed as an Independent Senator with the intention of assisting with the Senate's modernization and helping it fulfill its responsibility as a chamber of sober second thought, examination and inquiry.
Lastly, ICJ Canada would like to again congratulate Professor Penelope Simons on being selected as the 2018 Tarnoposky Award winner. Professor Simons received the award on October 31st at the reception following the event "70 Years On... is Humanity Ready for a World Court of Human Rights?", hosted by the Human Rights Research and Education Center and chaired by Professor Packer.
Looking to 2019
ICJ Canada has several events lined up for early 2019. First, we will be co-hosting a talk with Bill Browder, who will be speaking on how he became President Putin's nemesis with his tireless world-wide campaigning on "The Magnitsky Act". You can see the full details of the event and buy tickets for Bill Browder: From Russia's largest foreign investor to President Putin's Public Enemy No. 1 here now.
ICJ Canada relies on the support and expertise of its members to continue its mission of protecting human rights, the rule of law, and the independence of the judiciary. If you have any thoughts on, or would like to contribute to, any of the events identified above, please let us know.
Additionally, if you have not already, please consider renewing your ICJ Canada membership for 2019 using the button below. We are looking to expand our membership next year, so if you have any friends or colleagues that would be interesting in supporting assisting us in achieving our mandate please consider suggesting they join us as well.
Best wishes for the holidays!
On October 31st, 2018, ICJ Canada recognized Professor Penelope Simons as the 2018 recipient of the Walter S. Tarnopolsky award, which is given annually to an individual who has made a significant contribution to human rights in Canada or abroad. The award ceremony took place in at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law's atria at the reception following the event "70 Years On... is Humanity Ready for a World Court of Human Rights?", hosted by the Human Rights Research and Education Center and chaired by ICJ Canada board member John Packer.
Prior to taking up her position at the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa, Penelope was a Senior Lecturer in Law at Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK. She was called to the British Columbia Bar in 1996 and practiced corporate/commercial law with McCarthy Tétrault LLP. She has also worked in the nongovernmental sector on peace and disarmament issues.
Penelope has been engaged in research on corporate human rights accountability for over a decade. In December 1999 she participated in the Canadian Assessment Mission to Sudan (the Harker Mission), appointed by Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, to investigate allegations of slavery as well as links between oil development in Sudan and violations of human rights. Her current research is focused on the human rights implications of domestic and extraterritorial corporate activity, state responsibility for corporate complicity in human rights violations, as well as the intersections between transnational corporate activity, human rights and international economic law.
Penelope teaches international human rights law, business organizations, public international law and a course on transnational corporations, human rights and international trade and investment law. Her most recent work involved research with UN High Commissioner for Human Right’s Accountability and Remedy Project.
Congratulations Professor Simons!
In this month which marks the 70 anniversary of the Genocide Convention, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Canada should demonstrate its profound commitment to both Conventions by actions that prevent the promise of “never again” becoming the reality of “yet again” as we are seeing too often, since the Second World War demonstrated most recently by the continuing unfolding of the genocide in Myanmar against the Rohingya people.
The International Commission of Jurists, Canada asks the Canadian government to demonstrate leadership by demanding effective international efforts to protect the Rohingya that remain in Myanmar while also ensuring that any attempts to repatriate them back to Myanmar is not sending them back into a continuing form of genocidal repression. This is the minimum that our commitment to the Genocide Convention, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and our own commitment to the global rule of law demands of us.
Professor Errol P. Mendes
President, International Commission of Jurists, Canada
On August 25th, ICJ Canada board member John Packer and the Human Rights Research and Education Centre co-hosted a Symposium on the Legal Dimensions of the Rohingya Crisis with the help of guests such as David Palumba-Liu from Stanford University and Ashley S. Kinseth from the Stateless Dignity Program. The symposiums programme is attached to this post. The symposium is well time with the release of the United Nation Human Rights Council's Report of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar today on 27 August 2018. The UNHRC's report describes that the Rohingya crisis as a foreseeable, planned, and enduring human rights catastrophe, and makes several strong findings and recommendations.
ICJ Canada president Errol Mendes is urging Canada and all nations that are signatories to the 1948 Genocide Convention to support the UN report that Myanmar’s top military generals, including Commander-in-Chief Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing, must be investigated and prosecuted for genocide in the north of Rakhine State, as well as for crimes against humanity and war crimes in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan States. See the UN Press Release: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=23475&LangID=E
Today, Canada celebrates the 36th anniversary of the signing of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Charter was signed by then-Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on April 17, 1982. In 2015, 93 per cent of Canadians surveyed chose the Charter as the most important symbol of national identity, ranking it higher than the flag, the RCMP, the national anthem, hockey, the beaver, and the maple leaf.
ICJ Canada President Errol Mendes encourages all Canadians to reflect on the meaning of the Charter’s introduction and how it has shaped Canada since it came into force. The Charter guarantees basic rights and freedoms for everyone in Canada and continues to be essential in the protection of human rights, the rule of law, and the independence of the judiciary.
"Aujourd’hui, j’aimerais rappeler aux Canadiens que nous n’avons pas plus grand devoir que celui de veiller aux libertés des uns et des autres. Les mots enchâssés dans la Charte représentent nos droits, nos libertés et surtout notre responsabilité collective."
ICJ Canada Board Member and University of Ottawa Law Professor John Packer supports Bob Rae’s call for Canada to play a leadership role in addressing the Rohingya crisis. “Not only is this amongst the world’s worst humanitarian crises, but it is another threat to the international rules-based order presenting evident challenges for regional peace and security and sustainable peace and development in Myanmar and its neighbourhood. Canada is well-placed to step up with substantial humanitarian assistance, but also to press for accountability of those individually responsible for the crimes committed. In this regard, the ICC Prosecutor’s request for clarification of jurisdiction is a welcome development. But beyond humanitarian assistance and the fight against impunity, Canada should also lead in addressing the larger challenges of Myanmar’s State responsibility for the situation as a whole and in urging and assisting an appropriate inter-governmental approach, consistent with the UN Charter, to the root causes. Issues of human rights, democratic governance, and the Rule of Law – within Myanmar and at international level – are at the heart of these challenges.”
ICJ Canada president and University of Ottawa Law Professor Errol Mendes congratulates the University of Victoria on Canada's first Indigenous Law Degree. Indigenous and Aboriginal Legal Traditions are gaining traction around the world and we are thrilled to see this development coming from one of Canada's leaders in post-secondary education while promoting Indigenous law and faculty. This aligns with our mandate of promoting human rights and the rule of law throughout Canada and world and aligns with the Truth and Reconciliation's recommendations to increase Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods into classrooms at all levels.