Concordia University


Paul Dewar stood up for human rights

February 8, 2019
By Kyle Matthews and Marie Lamensch


The Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS) at Concordia University sends its condolences to the family of former Member of Parliament Paul Dewar, who passed away on 6 February 2019 in Ottawa, after a courageous battle against brain cancer.

Paul was an inspirational Canadian who stood up for human rights and worked tirelessly to protect vulnerable civilians from genocide and crimes against humanity. His life is one that all Canadians should be proud of and strive to emulate in making the world a better place.

MIGS worked closely with Paul when he served twice as the Chair of the Canadian All-Parliamentary Group for the Prevention of Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity, which was founded by our distinguished senior fellow Roméo Dallaire.

Paul was successful in getting the Canadian Parliament to recognize and designate April 23rd as the official National Day of Remembrance and Action on Mass Atrocities. Since then, he worked with local Ottawa high school students and MIGS to mobilize youth in fighting indifference and make never again a reality. He was an ardent and committed global citizen who believed that empowering youth was the most intelligent pathway to advancing human rights here and abroad.

After leaving politics, Paul remained committed to human rights. He joined the Canadian board of Human Rights Watch and was a key ally of MIGS in building the capacity of parliamentarians across the globe to uphold the Responsibility to Protect and the Genocide Convention. Paul recently participated in the #RightCity initiative at Concordia University and remained a committed human rights leader up until the end, inspiring us all to be better global citizens.

MIGS' Executive Director Kyle Matthews was fortunate to see Paul in November 2018 at a special ceremony at Ottawa City Hall where he was given the key to the city, the national capital's highest honour. Kyle noted "Paul Dewar was and is an inspirational Canadian of global stature who will be recognized in history as one our country's greatest humanitarian and human rights champion".

In his last op-ed, published in the Ottawa Citizen, he wrote "Canada can step up again and seize another moment, by committing to lead the world in the prevention of mass atrocities. We owe it to those in need, and to ourselves."

MIGS will continue to work to uphold Paul's positive message to Canada's youth and the world. He will remain an inspiration to us all. Thank you Paul, rest in peace.



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