On June 10, 2017, representatives from academic human rights institutes across Canada met at the 2017 Realizing Rights conference organized by the University of Ottawa. Organizations in attendance were: Centre for Human Rights Research (U Manitoba), Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism (McGill U), Human Rights Research and Education Centre (HRREC at uOttawa), International Human Rights programme (UofT), Native Law Centre (U of Saskatchewan), Programme on Human Rights (St. Thomas U), Clinique de droits international penal et humanitaire (U Laval), Atlantic Human Rights Centre (St. Thomas U) and Landon Pearson Centre for the Study of Childhood and Children’s Rights (Carleton U).

The goal of the meeting was to explore the possibility of creating an Canadian Association of Human Rights Centres, Institutes and Programs operating in academic institutions. Given the interest expressed by participants, the creation of an association was agreed. This would not entail at this stage establishing a legal entity and the group would operate mostly virtually. The definition of members is broad and includes centres, institutes, programs, chairs, laboratories, SSHRC partnership grants, clinics, etc. as long as they focus on human rights topics and are situated within a Canadian university or college.

Members agreed to consider collaborating and sharing information on their mandate, funding models, thematic priorities, resources, etc. Based on the information gathered on research priorities, a student could be engaged to identify areas of strengths and weaknesses/gaps. Members agreed to collaborate on research projects and grants, events (multi-site, shared costs) and advocacy initiatives as opportunities and needs arise.

The group will seek to meet annually, ideally coinciding with large academic events that member institutions plan to attend. Virtual participation will be an option for members unable to attend in person. The location of the meetings will rotate among member institutions.

List of Members

Atlantic Human Rights Centre, St. Thomas University

Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism, McGill University

Centre for Human Rights Research, University of Manitoba

Clinique de droit international pénal et humanitaire, Université Laval

Clinique internationale de défense des droits humains de l’UQAM

Human Rights Research & Education Centre, University of Ottawa

Indigenous Law Center, University of Saskatchewan

Interdisciplinary Research Laboratory on the Rights of the Child, University of Ottawa

International Justice & Human Rights Clinic, University of British Columbia

International Human Rights Programme, University of Toronto

Landon Pearson Centre for the Study of Childhood and Children’s Rights, Carleton University

Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies, Concordia University

Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime and Security

National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, University of Manitoba

Academic Programs 

Master of Human Rights, University of Manitoba

Summer School on International Humanitarian Law, University of Ottawa

Interdisciplinary Course on the Rights of the Child, University of Ottawa