human rights

Fannie Lafontaine

Professor Fannie Lafontaine takes honors in Canada’s Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers

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Professor Fannie Lafontaine, a full professor at the Faculty of Law of Université Laval, chair of the Canada Research Chair in International Criminal Justice and Human Rights, Director of the Canadian Partnership for International Justice and Co-Director of the International Criminal and Humanitarian Law Clinic, has been recognized by Canadian Lawyer Magazine in its prestigious annual Canada’s Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers.

Competing in the Government/Non-Profits/Associations category, she was named one of 25 lawyers and judges from across the country who have made a significant contribution to their profession and to Canadian society, a well-deserved honor.

Canadian Lawyer Magazine, which received 22,409 votes this year, reports a praise received on Professor Lafontaine: “Fannie Lafontaine’s analysis of genocide, as well as her impactful reports and interventions, are having huge impacts on the narrative surrounding the First Nations’ human rights violations in Canada”.

In recent years, Fannie Lafontaine has played an unprecedented role as an independent civilian observer of the police investigation into allegations of criminal conduct by police officers against Indigenous people across Quebec. Her expertise brought to light the existence of systemic racism in the police force towards Indigenous peoples in Quebec, contributing to the creation of the Viens Commission of Inquiry. In this role, rendered necessary  by a serious social crisis, she helped develop principles for assessing the integrity and impartiality of police investigations against other police officers, particularly in an Indigenous context.

She was also the lead drafter of the Supplementary Report to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, “A Legal Analysis on Genocide.” The report sparked a discussion countrywide and received wide international coverage, including at the United Nations and the Organization of American States. The painful discoveries of missing children from former residential schools across Canada further validate the importance and relevant of her analysis .

Fannie Lafontaine’s recent contributions are at the heart of some of the most pressing legal and societal issues in Canada and have influenced how colonial violence and systemic racism against Indigenous peoples can be named, addressed and deconstructed.

Congratulations to Fannie Lafontaine!

Fannie Lafontaine

Nobel Women’s Initiative present – NASRIN

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Nobel Women’s Initiative presented a screening of the movie Nasrin followed by a panel. Human rights lawyer Amanda Ghahremani hosted the discussion with Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi, activist Maryam Shafipour & filmmaker Jeff Kaufman about Women Human Rights Defenders’ movement and the movie Nasrin.

5th Annual Global Business and Human Rights Scholars’ Conference

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The 5th Annual Global Business and Human Rights Scholars’ Conference was held at Essex University in Colchester (UK).

Professor Penelope Simons gave a presentation on “Using International Investment Agreements to Address Corporate Impunity for Human Rights Violations in the Extractive Sector”.

No Peace without Women’s Rights – Breaking the Cycle of Conflict in Afghanistan

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The webinaire “No Peace without Women’s Rights – Breaking the Cycle of Conflict in Afghanistan” was organized by the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism and the Women Living Under Muslim Laws International Solidarity Network.

Professor Payam Akhavan gave the welcome word. The discussion was with Dr. Sima Samar and Dr. Sally Armstrong. Professor Homa Hoodfar (Concordia) gave remarks, and Professor Vrinda Narain (McGill) moderated.

Panel on the Rohingya crisis

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The Panel on the Rohingya crisis was held in Montreal (Canada) and was organized by the McGill International Law Society and Criminal Law McGill.

Professors Payam Akhavan and Frédéric Mégret served as moderators, with Saifullah Muhammad, Co-founder and director of the Canadian Rohingya Development Initiative, Yuriko Cowper-Smith, PhD Candidate, University of Guelph and Bob Rae, Special Envoy to Myanmar as panelists.

This event offered students an opportunity to learn more about the case and international criminal law more generally, as well as highlighted the expertise relating to international law and human rights that exists within the Faculty.

In Conversation: Payam Akhavan

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This event was organized by Massey College in collaboration with the International Human Rights Program and the University of Toronto Faculty of Law.

Professor Payam Akhavan gave a presentation on “Justice for Genocide: The World Court’s Historic Decision on Myanmar’s Persecuted Rohingya Minority”.

Prosecuting Evil – Law, Justice, Human Rights, Nuremberg Trials, and the Holocaust

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This Hot Docs for Continuing Professional Education accredited screening and discussion for lawyers and business professionals will explore how the Nazi philosophy of law emanating from racial ideology perverted Germany’s legal system, to discriminate against, ostracize, dehumanize, and eventually eliminate targeted classes of people. The program will feature the Hot Docs film Prosecuting Evil: The Extraordinary World of Ben Ferencz as a case study. It will be followed by a panel discussion featuring leading experts and scholars who will provide their view on lessons that can be drawn from history to address some of the challenges of our time such as the rise of populism, anti-Semitism, and racism in the Canadian society and around the world. The panel will also discuss the role of international in bringing perpetrators to justice and how the international community can promote human rights and prevent history to repeat itself.

Opening remarks by Dara Solomon, Director of UJA Federation’s Ontario Jewish Archives, Blankenstein Family Heritage Centre and the Executive Director of the Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre


Pre-recorded adresses by:

  • The Honourable Louise Arbour, C.C., G.O.Q.
  • The Honourable Irwin Cotler, PC, OC

Expert speakers:

  • Fannie Lafontaine, Professor at the Law Faculty of Laval University
  • Max Eisen, Holocaust survivor, author, public speaker and Holocaust educator

See full details on the UDocs Website: udocsfilm.com/hdcpe-prosecuting

Purdy Crawford Workshop: The Role of Business in Advancing the Sustainable Development Goals

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The Purdy Crawford Workshop was on “The Role of Business in Advancing the Sustainable Development Goals”. The event was held at the Schulich School of Law of Dalhousie University.

Professor Penelope Simons participated to a panel on “Using International Investment Agreements to Address Corporate Impunity for Human Rights Violations in the Extractive Sector” with J.A. VAnDuzer. She also participated to a panel on “Professional Responsibility and Access to Justice in Home State Courts for Victims of Transnational Human Rights Violations” with A. Salazyn.

Workshop on International Criminal Law

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The Workshop on International Criminal Law was held in London (Canada) at Western University. The event was coordinated by Professor Valerie Oosterveld and organized by Western Law’s Public, the Private International Law Research Group and Osgoode Hall’s Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime, and Security and the CPIJ.

Professor Frédéric Mégret gave a presentation on “Justifying Extra-Territorial Criminal Jurisdiction Over One’s Nationals”.