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International human rights experts converge on Concordia for two days of marching and discussions

RightsCity Conference June 3 and 4 examines Montreal’s role in defending and promoting tolerance
May 16, 2018
Close to 5,000 people, including former mayor Denis Coderre, attended last year's march.

The rise of populism, protecting the civil liberties of Indigenous peoples, and the role played by women in defending human rights will all be explored at the #RightsCity Conference.

Joining forces with several organizations entrenched in the city’s human rights ecosystem, Concordia’s Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS) presents the second edition of Rights City/Montréal, ville des droits humains — or #RightsCity — in June.

With partners Amnistie internationale Canada francophone, the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights and the Comité unifié des organisations arméniennes du Québec, the MIGS team has convened an impressive slate of thought leaders and activists to discuss current human security challenges, and the role Montreal can play in defending and promoting tolerance.

#RightsCity is comprised of two main activities: the annual March for Humanity and the Prevention of Genocides on Sunday, June 3, and a day-long conference at Concordia on Monday, June 4.

Kyle Matthews, executive director of MIGS, says being at the helm of international events such as #RightsCity is part of the institute’s mandate.

“MIGS is a change-maker, a champion and a leader in the Montreal human rights landscape,” he adds.

“It’s our role as a university to look at these important issues from all angles.”

Geneviève Paul, interim director general of Amnistie internationale Canada francophone, says that the #RightsCity Conference is an opportunity to address the role of governments, including cities, in the implementation of human rights.

"It's a space to discuss the role of cities in respecting human rights, including the rights of Indigenous peoples. A city of refuge, a green city, a city focused on its communities — cities can make a real difference,” she says.

This year’s conference will feature a dozen human rights experts:

  • Marty Castro, former chair of United States Commission on Civil Rights
  • John Judis, journalist and editor-at-large at Talking Points Memo
  • Lisa Goldman, journalist and recipient of the Anna Lindh Journalist Award for conflict reporting
  • Marie-Eve Bordeleau, Montreal’s commissioner of Indigenous affairs
  • Viviane Michel, president of Quebec Native Women
  • Homa Hoodfar, a Concordia professor who was jailed in Iran for 112 days
  • Odile Joanette, executive director of Wapikoni Mobile
  • Ketty Nivyabandi of the Nobel Women’s Initiative
  • Rehana Hashmi, senior program advisor at Sisters Trust Canada
  • Thomas Mulcair, former leader of Canada’s New Democratic Party
  • Irwin Cotler, founder and chair of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights

Schedule of Events

The Rights City/Montréal, ville des droits humains event takes place on June 3 and 4.

Annual March for Humanity and the Prevention of Genocides
Organized by the Comité unifié des organisations arméniennes du Québec

WHEN: June 3, 12:30 to 4 p.m.
WHERE:  Starts at Cabot Square (corner of Atwater Avenue and Sainte-Catherine Street West) and ends at Place du Canada (corner of Peel St. and René-Lévésque Boulevard West)

Learn more about the march.

#RightsCity Conference at Concordia

WHEN: June 4, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
WHERE: McConnell Library Building, LB-125 DeSève Cinema

Visit the Rights City/Montréal, ville des droits humains website for conference info. Please note that registration for the conference at Concordia is mandatory, though the event is free of charge.

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