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Faculty of Law and CHRLP end collaboration with Penny & Gordon Echenberg Family Foundation

The Faculty of Law of McGill University, its Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism (CHRLP) as well as Gordon Echenberg and the Penny and Gordon Echenberg Family Foundation are ending their work together, following a meaningful collaboration that began in 2006.

Over the past nine years, this collaboration has resulted in three Global Conferences, one Regional Conference in Rwanda, two published books, a DVD on genocide largely based on its 2007 conference, numerous working papers and a global community of young human rights specialists.

“The dialogue, engagement and education fostered through the conferences have had a concrete social impact, developed innovative approaches to human rights and addressed some of the most poignant and pressing concerns of the human condition,” says Colleen Sheppard, Director of the CHRLP.

“The goal of these conferences was in part to bridge the gap between academia and the pragmatics of daily life, and thereby potentially have some social impact” says Gordon Echenberg, the Founder of the Conference Series. “In addition, the Young Leaders Forum and the McGill Echenberg Human Rights Fellowship program were designed to create and raise awareness of human rights issues among the younger generation.”

It is hoped that the effects of this collaboration will continue to have a positive impact across international borders for years to come.

As such, the Faculty of Law of McGill University, its Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism (CHRLP) as well as Gordon Echenberg and the Penny and Gordon Echenberg Family Foundation are sad to also announce that the Young Leaders Forum 2015 has been cancelled. 

We would like to thank each of the more than 1,300 individuals who sent us an application – the Centre reviewed every one and we were inspired by the work that is being done in human rights around the world. We apologize for the inconvenience caused to individual applicants and thank you for your interest in this initiative.

A key part of this collaboration, the Young Leaders Forum, created an international community of scholars, practitioners and activists who worked together to advance understandings of complex the human rights issues raised by the subject matter of each of its Global Conferences.

High cost is not a barrier to protecting right to food in South Asia

An article written by one of our McGill Echenberg Fellows - Apurba Khatiwada

Last year the Indian parliament passed a law that seeks to guarantee universal distribution of food for over 800 million Indians. The government of India has now allocated over 18 billion US dollars to meet the cost of the implementation of the law after it also secured a deal for ‘public stockholding for food security purposes’ at last year’s Ninth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization.


2015 International Forum for Young Leaders – Call for applications – “Human Rights and Leadership”


The next generation of human rights professionals will be required to respond to increasingly complex and systemic global challenges through innovation and ingenuity.

Our mission is to foster a network of young leaders who aim to develop accessible solutions to these challenges and advance human rights and access to justice through ethical engagement.

Deadline: October 31, 2014

The International Forum for Young Leaders brings together individuals under 30 years of age who have demonstrated their passion for implementing innovative, entrepreneurial solutions to the world’s most pressing problems, and offering them an opportunity to interact and benefit from each other’s experiences. It does this by:


Too soon to praise Somalia on its progress on sexual violence

An article written by one of our McGill Echenberg Fellows, whose name we cannot disclose.
In the days following the Global Summit on sexual violence in conflict, several Somali news outlets ran with the heading, ‘Somalia praised at the Summit on Sexual Violence in Conflict in London’. A colleague of mine who attended the Summit was told that Somalia was to be held up as an example of a country making an effort to combat sexual violence, given that seven of its Ministries have just adopted Action Plans to that effect. And it does seem that many people in the Somali government, and particularly in the Ministry of Women and Human Rights Development, are sincerely committed to that goal.


Women’s Rights in African Patriarchal Societies

An article written by one of our McGill Echenberg Fellows - Sheila Mulli 

Human rights are rights inherent to human beings regardless of sex, race, nationality, religion or age. They are reiterated by international declaration, international conventions and resolutions. All states that have ratified at least one of these international instruments have taken the responsibility to promote and protect the human rights of their citizens and are obligated to promote values, beliefs and attitudes that encourage individuals to uphold their own rights and those of others, otherwise, human rights have little value. A current human rights issue that plagues our society today is “Violence against Women”.



An article written by one of our McGill Echenberg Fellows, whose name we cannot disclose.

scuola (1)When you land in Bangui, the capital of Central African Republic (CAR), you quickly understand the extent of the humanitarian crisis looming in the country. The runaway is just few meters from a huge camp hosting internally displaced people (IDPs) who have sought home there following an outbreak of violence in December 2013.

I remember having stared at those people from the window of the Air France plane and have swallowed my saliva which tasted bitter. IDPs stay in makeshift shelters and stand by abandoned planes, living in deplorable conditions, lacking access to food, clean water and basic social services. Kids play at the edge of the runaway, while French soldiers armed to the teeth try to pull them back. Some of the passengers who got off from my plane did look at the site, but the majority walked on to speed up customs formalities.


The Dark Side of Peacekeeping Missions

An article written by one of our McGill Echenberg Fellows, whose name we cannot disclose.

The word ‘peacekeepers’ is a loaded one, bringing an array of images and historical inferences to mind. Blue helmets. The recent and needed deployment in the Central African Republic. The successful all-women force in Liberia that helped rebuild after civil war. The failed mission in Rwanda. Black Hawk Down. It’s a confusing patchwork of images- but so it should be. Peacekeeping is a complicated topic that deserves to be judged on a case by case basis. There is, however, one theme attached to virtually all peacekeeping missions; a theme which probably didn’t immediately spring to mind, but which women and children in the countries those missions ostensibly protect know far too well. In the ‘industry’, it has an acronym all to itself: SEA – Sexual exploitation and abuse. SEA- committed by the protectors against their protectees, across the world, with impunity, and all but ignored by the international community who provide those peacekeepers with their unflinching financial support.


The Ephemeral Nature of Peace: Restoring Peace through Education and the Justice System

An article by one of our McGill Echenberg Fellows - Natasha Serafimovska

When on 19 May, 2014 another murder was reported in the Macedonian news, the country fell into an utter state of shock. When it was revealed that the victim was a 19-year old Macedonian boy and the offender was an Albanian peer the shock was replaced by mixed emotions of sorrow, anger, but most of all – fear. Everyone was wondering if this was the final straw that would set off the ticking bomb of ethnic hostility in the country. Only two years previously another incident was reported where five men, four of whom were between the age of 18-21, were shot while fishing by a lake near Skopje. In light of the heightened ethnic tensions and lacking a clear culprit, the public quickly interpreted the incident as ethnic aggression and sought immediate justice.


Is a new era of democracy coming to Bolivia?

An article by one of our McGill Echenberg Fellows  - Alejandro Fernandez Gutierrez

It has been a year since Hugo Chaves died and the region of Latin America feels empty, but there also an important shift in politics in many countries in South America since his passing. It is important to remember that Hugo Chaves had a strong policy not only for his country, but also for other South American countries, including Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil. These countries believed that Hugo Chaves’ ideas were the “right fit” for Latin America, but it seems like a new kind of democracy is about to come to Bolivia, when all Bolivians will have the opportunity to vote and maybe change public policy.


Cultural Identity, Human Security, and Conflicts

Cultural Identity, Human Security, and Conflicts[1]
An article by one of our McGill Echenberg Fellows - Milena Oganesyan

This blog focuses on the relationship between cultural identity and conflict by examining the concept of human security as it prevails in the realm of international development and peace and conflict studies. In its 1994 report, the United Nations Development Program introduced the concept of human security. This report emphasized the need to move from a state-centered approach towards a people-centered understanding of security. In this regard, some scholars define human security as “the protection of individuals from risks to their physical or psychological safety, dignity and well-being” (Tadjbakhsh & Chenoy 2007:3). Thus, human security focuses on people rather than states. Based on this idea, people’s insecurities can trigger conflicts and challenge state security.


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