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Newsletter - September 2022

September 13, 2022

Source: MIGS


MIGS is pleased to announce the launch of the Digital Peace Project, with the support of the Department of Canadian Heritage. The project seeks to contribute to national efforts to mitigate online hate while respecting freedom of expression and is designed to uphold the U.N. Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech.

As part of MIGS’ Countering Digital Authoritarianism Initiative supported by the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa, we launched the report "Digital Authoritarianism: Pathways, Trends, Solutions.” Written by Jessica Brandt, Policy Director at the Brookings Institution, the report aims to increase our understanding of the various pathways through which authoritarian regimes use digital tools to shore up their grip on power. On this occasion, MIGS organized a Twitter Spaces discussion with Jessica Brandt, which is available here.

MIGS launched the official website of the Global Parliamentary Alliance Against Atrocity Crimes (GPAAAC). The website features information about upcoming meetings, members and participants, op-eds, and resources about Ukraine. In addition, you will find a summary of the Inaugural meeting of the GPAAAC.

MIGS is pleased to announce that Aphrodite Salas has been appointed the second inaugural John Lemieux Faculty Fellow. 

MIGS invites applications for its John Lemieux Student Fellowship Program for the 2022/2023 academic year. The program offers an opportunity for graduate and undergraduate students at Concordia University to gain an experiential learning experience and develop practical skills in the field of human rights. Learn more about this opportunity here.

Congratulations to MIGS’ Fellow Eric Meerkamper who was appointed to the advisory board of the Cyberpeace Institute.


MIGS and a group of human rights organizations issued an open letter to Volkswagen’s new CEO, Oliver Blume, urging the company to shut down its plant in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

MIGS joined over 50 human rights organizations in issuing a joint civil society letter “urging for US sanctions to stop the Uyghur genocide”. 

Upcoming Events

September 14 

MIGS will host the second meeting of The Global Parliamentary Alliance Against Atrocity Crimes (GPAAAC).  “Unpacking Atrocity Crimes in Ukraine'' will feature Lloyd Axworthy (Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada), Lt-Gen. Roméo Dallaire (Lieutenant-General (ret) and Distinguished Senior Fellow at MIGS), Alice Stollmeyer (Founder & Executive Director of Defend Democracy), Anya Neistat (Legal Director, The Docket Initiative, Clooney Foundation for Justice), Sergey Lagodinsky (German Member of the European Parliament), Yvan Baker (Canadian Member of Parliament), Tanya Lokshina (Associate Director, Europe and Central Asia division, Human Rights Watch), and Dr. Frank Chalk (Co-founder and Director of Research, MIGS).

October 6

MIGS’ Executive Director Kyle Matthews will present the GPAAAC initiative at the Global Action Against Mass Atrocity Crimes’ Steering Group meeting.

October 11

Kyle Matthews will participate in the OSCE’s Office of the Representative on Freedom of the Media upcoming workshop on content governance in crises. 

Recent Events

August 22

MIGS interviewed Belkis Wille, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, about the ongoing war crimes committed by Russian forces in Ukraine. Listen to the podcast episode here. MIGS also interviewed Ukrainian Parliamentarian Lesia Vasylenko about holding Russia accountable for crimes committed in Ukraine. 

August 23

MIGS staff met with Jean-Pierre Gahima and Odette Rwubuzizi to discuss ongoing atrocities committed against Congolese Tutsis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

August 25

MIGS’ Project Officer Lauren Salim attended the United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate's insight briefing titled “Countering the Dissemination of Online Content Relating to Violent Extremist and Terrorist Incidents.”

August 30

MIGS Fellow Joanna Cook gave a lecture on gender and terrorism at the T.M.C Asser Instituut’s summer programme.

September 2

MIGS hosted a Twitter Spaces discussion titled “Structural causes of atrocities in Ethiopia: Spotlight on the Amharas”, which featured Hone Mandefro (Director of Advocacy, Amhara Association of America) and Adem Abebe (Advisor in Peace Building, Constitution Building, Democracy, Elections and Governance). A recording of the discussion moderated by Kyle Matthews is available here.

September 3

As a member of the Hazara Inquiry, an informal group of Members of the British House of Commons and the House of Lords, MIGS’ Fellow Ewelina Ochab published the Inquiry’s report “The Situation of the Hazara in Afghanistan.”   

September 6

Marie Lamensch attended the panel discussion “Antisémitisme et théories du complot” organized by the Montreal Centre for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence.

September 7

In honor of Konrad Adenauer Foundation Day, MIGS’ Breanna Cera-Semard participated in a series of events organized by the foundation under the moto “#StandWithUkraine – together in Europe and the democratic world.”

Kyle Matthews moderated a Global Diplomacy Lab discussion on “Improved Paths Towards Environmental Peacebuilding”.

September 8

Marie Lamensch participated in the third advisory panel meeting of the Stimson Center’s new project on digital surveillance in North Korea. 

MIGS’ staff attended the virtual launch of Freedom House’s new report “Beijing’s Global Media Influence: Authoritarian Expansion and the Power of Democratic Resilience.”

September 9 

Kyle Matthews participated in a consultation organized by Global Affairs Canada’s Centre for International Digital Policy.

Marie Lamensch attended a virtual discussion with American-born British financier and political activist Bill Browder titled “Freezing Order: Surviving Vladimir Putin's Wrath.” The event was hosted by the Carnegie Council.

September 12

Marie Lamensch attended a virtual event hosted by the German Marshall Fund titled “The Digital Services Act and The Code of Practice on Disinformation.”

MIGS’ staff took part in the webinar titled “20 years of the International Criminal Court: accomplishments and future challenges” organized by the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights. 

MIGS staff attended the Brooking Institution’s virtual symposium "Technology and the security of democratic societies."

In the Media

August 2

MIGS Fellow Dr. Ewelina U. Ochab wrote an article for Forbes titled “How One Yazidi Woman Helped To Secure The Second Genocide Conviction Of A Daesh Member”.

August 4 

Ewelina U. Ochab wrote an article for Forbes titled “Eight Years Later, The World is Yet To Address The Daesh Atrocities And Assist The Yazidis”.

August 9 

Ewelina U. Ochab wrote an article for Forbes titled “We Must Act To Protect Ukrainian Children - From Abductions And Other Abuses Suffered In Putin’s War”. 

August 10

Speaking to BBC News, Ewelina U. Ochab said the forced adoption of Ukrainian children in Russia constitute a "a serious risk of genocide."

August 12

On his podcast Canadian Intelligence Eh, MIGS Fellow Phil Gurski spoke with Fausia S. Abd, a U.N. policy officer on inclusivity and gender, about the Taliban’s approach to women’s rights.

August 14

MIGS Fellow Andrei Serbin Pont was interviewed by El Pais “Andrei Serbin Pont: "The Armed Forces of Latin America have not been able to explain what their function and relevance is."

August 16

Ewelina U. Ochab wrote an article for Forbes titled “One Year under The Taliban Rule: Situation Of Women And Girls In Afghanistan.”

August 17 

Marie Lamensch wrote an article for CIGI titled “In Saudi Arabia, Digital Repression Has a Uniquely Gendered Aspect.”

August 20 

Dr. Ewelina U. Ochab wrote an article for Forbes titled “We Must Condemn Abuse Of Religion Or Belief As Tool Of Discrimination And Violence.”

August 24 

Andrei Serbin Pont was quoted in the InSight Crime article “Can New US Regulations Stem Firearms Flowing to Latin America?”

August 25

MIGS’ Fellow Naomi Kikoler was quoted in the Radio Free Asia article titled “Rohingya rally for repatriation on 5th anniversary of brutal Myanmar crackdown.”

Naomi Kikoler co-wrote an article with Wai Wai Nu in the Hill Times titled “Finding Burma’s path out of genocide.”

August 26

MIGS’ Fellow Phil Gurski spoke with Lynne O’Donnell about working as a journalist in terrorist zones on his podcast Canadian Intelligence Eh.

September 1

MIGS Fellow Mark Kersten wrote an article on Justice in Conflict titled “Will Justice catch up with those responsible for Post-Election Violence in Kenya? After the election, it doesn’t look good.”

Ewelina U. Ochab wrote an article for Forbes titled “Uyghurs May Be Subjected To Crimes Against Humanity In Xinjiang -United Nations’ Report Finds.”

On his podcast, Phil Gurski spoke with Jonathan Berkshire-Miller, Director of the Indo-Pacific Program and Senior Fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, about Canada’s policy on East Asia.

Lauren Salim wrote an article for the Human Rights Research Center titled “Ecological Threats, Conflict, & Forced Displacement.”

September 2 

Kyle Matthews was interviewed by CTV news about the death of  Mikhail Gorbachev, his legacy and the state of human rights under President Vladimir Putin. 

Marie Lamensch spoke to Radio-Canada Ontario about the release of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights report on the Human Rights Situation in Xinjiang.

September 7

Ewelina Ochab spoke to the BBC Persian about the findings of the Hazara Inquiry in Afghanistan.

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