Ride for Justice: Marginalized Communities Push Back Against Legal Aid Cuts

Group photo

By Vincent Wong and India Annamanthadoo 

By the busloads they came. Women, children, elderly. Grocery store workers, nail salon workers, concerned community members, HIV survivors, and holistic health workers - primarily from the Chinese and Vietnamese communities. Our tandem from the IHRP (Research Associate Vincent Wong and Summer Fellow India Annamanthadoo) bore witness to the voices of individuals neglected and left behind by our legal system.

Dubbed the Ride for Justice, the Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic (CSALC), joined by several partner community legal clinics, and the Centre for Immigrant and Community Services (CICS), organized bus rides, petition drives and a protest in front of the constituency office of Premier Doug Ford in Etobicoke North on July 30th as one of many events in a larger Provincial Day of Action all across Ontario. The message was clear: the Ontario government's $133 million cut to provincial legal aid would hurt the most vulnerable groups in society and their community legal clinics that served them.

"And I Live On": Shining Light on Rwandan Genocide Survivors' Resilience

On the evening of April 1, I am sitting in the chapel at the University of Toronto’s Hart House, listening to a loop of beautiful sounds. Birds chirping. A sonorous choir. In between, soft voices speak in Kinyarwanda and are translated into English.

A Long Struggle for Justice: Reflections on the Nevsun hearing at the Supreme Court

The IHRP legal team at the Supreme Court of Canada. Left to right: Yolanda Song (JD 2017), Madeline Torrie (2L), Nicole Thompson (2L), Cory Wanless (JD 2008)

The IHRP legal team at the Supreme Court of Canada. Left to right: Yolanda Song (JD 2017), Madeline Torrie (2L), Nicole Thompson (2L), Cory Wanless (JD 2008)

By Yolanda Song

The University of Toronto’s International Human Rights Program spent the last semester preparing to intervene in a landmark corporate accountability case before the Supreme Court of Canada. In Nevsun Resources Ltd. v Araya et al., the plaintiffs Gize Yebeyo Araya, Kesete Tekle Fshazion, and Mihretab Yemane Tekle are Eritrean refugees who are bringing a claim for damages against a Vancouver-based company, Nevsun Resources Ltd., for the use of slavery, torture, and indefinite forced labour on a mine that it owns in Eritrea. The mining company has tried to have the claims against it dismissed on a number of grounds without success, leading to the appeal hearing on January 23, 2019.

Video: Dispatch from the SCC in Nevsun Case

In this video, IHRP research associate Yolanda Song (JD 2017) and U of T law alumnus Cory Wanless of Waddell Phillips PC (JD 2008) discuss why the IHRP is intervening today at the Supreme Court in the Nevsun case.

To learn more about the case, check out this news post from the IHRP and this CBC article quoting Professor Audrey Macklin, co-counsel for the IHRP. For further background on the issue, see the Human Rights Watch report from 2013 on forced labour and corporate responsibility in Eritrea's mining sector.

Launch of the IHRP Bulletin

By Samer Muscati

As the Director of the IHRP, I’m constantly amazed by the depth and reach of our research associates’ work in advancing international human rights.

Over the past year, our research associates have enabled the IHRP to embark on a variety of new research areas, field visits, and innovative projects. From Rwanda to the Philippines to courtrooms in Canada, our team challenged rights violations, exposed injustices, and learned from community groups to advance international human rights at home and abroad. Our latest research and advocacy focus has been on emerging technologies and human rights, all captured in our hot-off-the-presses newsletter.

For years, the IHRP has featured student content in our Rights Review publication, but there has yet to be an opportunity to directly hear from our staff. So beginning this month, the IHRP will be showcasing the work of our research associates in the IHRP Bulletin, a blog on our website, where our researchers will share updates, analyses and insights on the projects they are leading.