Civil Society at Risk? Three International Perspectives


Chancellor Day Hall Maxwell Cohen Moot Court (NCDH 100), 3644 rue Peel, Montreal, QC, H3A 1W9, CA

(Please note that the room has been changed)

The Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism, in collaboration with the Voices-Voix coalition for civil society, invites you to a conference on the risks currently faced by civil society.

Freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly are fundamental to the work of civil society organizations. They amplify the voices of civil society groups, many of which work with those who are marginalized and vulnerable. But their role and their advocacy make them targets for political attack. Global advocacy for the rights of migrants and minorities, and those opposing them, have made headlines in Canada and the United States in recent months. How do we craft a principled response that respects civil society while supporting a progressive approach to human rights?

The speakers

Françoise Girard

Françoise Girard is the President of the International Women’s Health Coalition. A lawyer by training, she is a longtime advocate and expert on women’s health, human rights, sexuality, and HIV and AIDS. She has played a key role in advocacy on sexual and reproductive health and women’s rights with UN agencies and at UN Conferences. Françoise was previously Director of the Public Health Program at Open Society Foundations, where she was also Regional Director for Central and Eastern Europe and Haiti in the 1990s. From 1999 to 2003, she was Senior Program Officer for International Policy at IWHC, and thereafter a consultant for IWHC, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, and DAWN, a network of women’s rights activists from the global South.

Francois Crépeau

Professor François Crépeau, who holds the Oppenheimer Chair in Public International Law, was the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants from 2011 to 2017. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. In August 2015, he became Director of McGill's Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism for a three-year mandate. He was  appointed to Belgium's International Francqui Professor Chair in Social Sciences for 2017-2018. The focus of his current research includes migration control mechanisms, the rights of foreigners, the interface between security and migration, and the interface between the Rule of Law and globalization.

Alex Neve

Alex Neve has been Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada since January 2000. He has been a member of Amnesty for twenty years, having joined when he was a student at Dalhousie University. He has worked for the organization nationally and internationally in a number of different roles, including research missions to Chad, Tanzania, Guinea, Mexico, Burundi, Colombia, Honduras, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana. He has appeared before various UN human rights bodies, Canadian parliamentary committees and has represented Amnesty International at numerous international meetings. He speaks and writes regularly in the national media on a range of human rights topics. He has taught international human rights and refugee law at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto and has been affiliated with the Centre for Refugee Studies at York University. Prior to taking up his current position he served as a Member of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada.

A request has been made for 1.5 hours of continuing legal education for jurists.