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Newsletter - September 2023

September 19, 2023

Source: MIGS


MIGS is excited to announce the launch of the Global Task Force to Counter Digital Authoritarianism. The members are Margaret McCuaig-Johnston (Senior Fellow in the Institute for Science, Society and Policy at the University of Ottawa), Charles Mok (Fellow, Stanford Cyber Policy Center), Steven Feldstein (Senior Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace), Chris Meserole (Director of the Brookings Artificial Intelligence and Emerging Technology Initiative, Brookings), Rafael Zanatta (Executive director of Data Privacy Brasil Research Association), Elizabeth Donkervoort (American Bar Association), Yinka Adegoke (Editor, Semafor Africa), Branka Panic (Founder and Executive Director, AI for PEACE), Jesus Melendez Vicente (Senior Technical Advisor, Data and Digital Development at IRE), and Eric Meerkamper (Fellow at the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies and Co-Founder of the Centre for Social Innovation).

We are honored to welcome David Donat Cattin as a new Senior Fellow at MIGS. David is Adjunct Associate Professor of International Law at New York University (NYU) Center for Global Affairs. He is a member of the advisory councils of the Global Institute for the Prevention of Aggression (GIPA, New York) and the International Center for Multi-Generational Legacies of Trauma (ICMGLT, New York).

Congratulations to MIGS Fellow Andrei Serbin Pont being appointed Executive Director of the Buenos Aires based think tank CRIES (Coordinadora Regional de Investigaciones Económicas y Sociales). Congratulations as well to MIGS Fellow Alyssa Blank on her new position as Senior Analyst and Team Lead at the Department of National Defence.

MIGS welcomes new Student Fellow Tim William Zøllner. Tim is currently a master's student in rhetoric at the University of Copenhagen, with a special interest in misinformation and democracy. Find out more about Tim on our website.

Marie Lamensch has been selected to become a member of the Working Group on Transnational Repression set up by the Newlines Institute. The aim of the group is to provide a platform for scholars and practitioners to collaborate and coordinate their work on, and to ensure their work reaches key policymakers.

MIGS is delighted to share its Activity Report for 2022-2023. This comprehensive report highlights the accomplishments, advancements, and strides made by our institute over the past year. 



29 August  

MIGS signed a joint letter urging the US and UK governments to take coordinated action to address the escalating atrocities in Sudan. This letter was collectively signed by over 275 civil society organizations.

7 September

MIGS, along with 19 other human rights organizations, co-signed a letter to the Canadian government demanding concrete action and a clear plan from the Canadian government to address the crisis in Artsakh. 

12 September

MIGS, along with 25 NGOs, co-signed a letter to the U.S. Congress calling for a hearing with civil society witnesses to allow ongoing crimes to be highlighted on the public record & prompt a much-needed reexamination of the United States' response. ABC News interviewed Megan Corrado, the Director of the Alliance for Peacebuilding, about the letter. 

MIGS and 50 humanitarian and human rights organizations co-signed a letter by Human Rights Watch urging for more aid, attention and solidarity with Sudan. 

14 September

Together with 150 international human rights and legal experts and organizations, Nobel laureates and individuals of conscience, MIGS has endorsed and Kyle Matthews has co-signed an open letter on September 14 calling on the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) to cancel its upcoming event with the President of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi, who stands accused of crimes against humanity during the 1988 massacre of political prisoners.

Upcoming Events

17-21 September

Kyle Matthews is traveling to New York to participate in numerous UN General Assembly side events and meet with partners.

27 September

MIGS, in collaboration with the Uyghur community in Canada, will host a photo exhibition and conference titled “Capturing the Uyghur Genocide through the Lens of Colonialism”. You can register here.

28 September

MIGS will host a panel discussion titled “The Responsibility to Protect Armenians''. Panelists will include Frank Chalk (Founding Co-Director and former Research Director, MIGS), Lernik Hovhannisyan (Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports, Republic of Artsakh [NKR]) and Gegham Stepanyan (Ombuds person, Republic of Artsakh [NKR]. The event will be moderated by Kyle Matthews (Executive Director, MIGS). Please note that this event will be hybrid. You can register here

3 October

Marie Lamensch will be a panelist at the Forum sur la Gouvernance de l’Internet au Québec organized by the Société Internet du Québec. Marie will speak on a panel titled “Régulation et encadrement de l’IA: Quels risques et opportunités?” Find out more here.

4 October

Kyle Matthews will speak on the panel “The 2025 Canadian presidency of the G7: What are the digital policy priorities?” at the Canadian Internet Governance Forum.

11-12 October

MIGS will host the inaugural Montreal International Security Summit on 11-12 October. The event will focus on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the war’s impact on global security and human rights. Partners include the Canadian Department of National Defence, the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Canada, the European Council on Foreign Relations, CORIM, the MacDonald-Laurier Institute and the Canadian International Council. For more information, please contact

Recent Events

4 August

MIGS hosted a Twitter Spaces discussion with the Financial Times’ Ukraine correspondent Christopher Miller. A podcast episode version is now available on Apple podcast and Spotify.

22 August

Marie Lamensch attended a workshop titled “Affecting Machines: Normative Principles for Gender Equity in AI” organized by Concordia University’s Applied AI Institute.

On the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence based on Religion or Belief, MIGS Fellow Ewelina Ochab and International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance (IRFBA) organized an event titled “Action for Lasting Change”. The session moderated by Ewelina Ochab featured British MP Fiona Bruce, Paweł Radomski (Special Envoy of the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Freedom of Religion or Belief, Poland), Bishop Angaelos (Archbishop of London Coptic Orthodox Church), Wai Wai Nu (Human rights defender), Cezar Pavalascu (Director, State Secretariat for Religious Affairs, Romania), Jewher Ilham (Human rights defender), Homira Rezai (Human rights defender), and Hannah Rose Thomas (Artist).

As part of its Digital Peace Project, MIGS interviewed Guylaine Maroist, a Montréal-based filmmaker and producer who has tackled online hate speech and cyberviolence in her most recent documentary film project, "Backlash: Misogyny in the Digital Age". You can listen to the podcast episode on Apple podcast or Spotify.

25 August 

MIGS Fellow Naomi Kikoler spoke at an online event in commemoration of the Rohingya genocide. The discussion also featured, amongst others, H.E. Urza Zeya (Under Secretary, US State Department), Rt. Hon Anne-Marie Trevelyan (Minister of State, UK), and Bob Rae (Ambassador of Canada to the UN).

29 August

MIGS Fellow Diego Osorio spoke on two panels at the Bled Strategic Forum: “Rethinking the Social Contract: Harnessing the Power of Global Citizens as Catalysts for Change” and “Water Crisis – Is Water Diplomacy up to the Challenge?”.

6 September

Kyle Matthews spoke at the Commission for Environmental Cooperation about “Unleashing the Power of AI for Human Rights and Environmental Preservation”.

7 September

MIGS, in collaboration with the Centre for International Peace and Security Studies (McGill University-Université Montreal) and the White Helmets, hosted a panel discussion titled “The White Helmets: Humanitarian Innovation for Today's Crises”. The event featured Emily Paddon Rhoads (associate professor of political science, Swarthmore College), Farouq al Habib (Group Deputy General Manager / Canada Executive Director of The White Helmets), Marie-Joëlle Zahar (Professeure titulaire, Département de science politique, Université de Montréal), Jennifer Welsh (CIPSS Director, Canada 150 Research Chair in Global Governance and Security, Max Bell School of Public Policy, McGill University) and Marie Lamensch (Coordinator, Program and Outreach, MIGS).

8 September

MIGS held the second focus group session of its Digital Peace Project. This session brought together tech experts to work together on policy recommendations.  

11 September

MIGS hosted Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, author and China reporter at Axios, to discuss disinformation, foreign interference and her latest book “Beijing Rules: How China Weaponized Its Economy to Confront the World”. 

12 September

Ahead of the Montreal International Security Summit, MIGS hosted a Twitter/X Spaces discussion with French journalist Nicolas Quénel titled “Operations Doppelgänger ou les ressorts de la propagande russe”. A podcast episode version of the discussion is available on Spotify and Apple Podcast.

14 September

To mark the launch of her co-authored book “The Rule is for None but Allah: Islamist Approaches to Governance", MIGS Fellow Joana Cook participated in a panel discussion featuring her co-author Shiraz Maher (Director of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation) as well as Aaron Zelin (Richard Borow Fellow, Washington Institute for Near East Policy) and Méryl Demuynck (Research Fellow, ICCT). Register here to attend this virtual event.

In the Media

8 August

Ewelina Ochab published an article in Forbes titled “Lachin Corridor Blockade Starves Nagorno-Karabakh”.

14 August

Ewelina Ochab published an article in Forbes titled  “The Legacy Of The Taliban: Poverty, Human Rights Violations And Gender Apartheid”.

22 August

Phil Gurski published an article titled “China’s Spying in Canada Soars to New Heights”.

24 August

Kyle Matthews published an article for Policy Magazine titled “The Global Stakes for Human Rights in America’s Election”.

25 August

Ewelina Ochab wrote an article in Forbes titled “Sexual Violence Continues In Tigray Despite The Cessation Of Hostilities Agreement”. 

28 August

Marie Lamensch published an article for the Centre for International Governance Innovation titled “Evolving Surveillance Tech Whets the Authoritarian Impulse to See and Know All”.

2 September

Ewelina Ochab wrote an article in Forbes titled “Over 1,400 People Starved To Death In Tigray Since Food Aid Suspension”.

5 September

Kyle Matthews wrote an article for The Conversation titled “4 ways to rein in China and Russia, alleged superpower perpetrators of atrocity crimes”. The article was later republished at Yahoo NewsThe Free PressThe Conversation (French) and Yahoo! Actualités (French) 

Ewelina Ochab wrote an article in Forbes titled “What Is Happening In India’s State Of Manipur?”

13 September

Ewelina Ochab wrote an article in Forbes titled “Mechanism Documenting Daesh Atrocities To End Its Work In 2024”.

17 September 

Ewelina Ochab wrote an article in Forbes titled “Sudan: Months Of Futile Suffering, Death, Loss And Destruction”.

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