At the joint ICJ/Canadian Judges’ Forum meeting held on August 14 in St. John’s, ICJ Commissioner Hon. Ian Binnie presented the 2006 Tarnopolsky Award to Professor Errol Mendes.
Professor Mendes was the former Director of the Human Rights Research and Education Centre at the University of Ottawa, of which Walter Tarnopolsky was the founding Director. At the time of his award, Professor Mendes was Editor-in-Chief of the National Journal of Constitutional Law; and his work included a major study on legal mechanisms to combat racism for the federal Department of Justice, and, with Senator Gérald-A. Beaudoin, the third edition of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1996). He is internationally recognized for his expertise in the areas of constitutional law, human rights and international business and trade law.
Professor Mendes has served as project leader for human rights, governance, and justice projects in China, Thailand, Indonesia, Brazil, El Salvador, Sri Lanka, and India.
In his Tarnopolsky Address, citing the disastrous 20th-century failures of many States to balance the claims of individual and collective rights, Professor Mendes spoke of the wisdom of using the Canadian model as a template for the protection of minority rights in multiethnic States worldwide: “The genius of the founding architects of Canadian nationhood was to entrench asymmetry up to the limits of the politically possible, but then to permit differences to flourish under other symmetrical provisions.”
You may read the full text of his address, entitled “The Canadian Constitution and Charter of Rights and Freedoms: a Ggobal template for minority rights?” by clicking here.