Headshot Samer Muscati

Samer Muscati, Director 

Samer Muscati (JD 2002) brings a wealth of experience and international perspective to his role as leader of the IHRP. For over five years, Samer has been a researcher with the world’s leading human rights NGO, Human Rights Watch (HRW). Most recently, Samer was the emergencies senior researcher in the women's rights division of HRW, where he monitored and documented women’s rights abuses during human rights crises. A lawyer, documentary photographer, and former journalist, Samer has conducted numerous fact-finding missions in Canada, Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iraq, and UAE. Before joining HRW in 2009, Samer worked in Baghdad as an adviser supporting the Iraqi government, and as a legal officer in the UN’s Serious Crimes Unit in East Timor. He also photographed and edited testimonials from survivors of sexual violence for a book commemorating the 15th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide. Apart from his work in conflict and post-conflict countries over the last decade, Samer was a corporate lawyer at Bingham McCutchen in Boston and articled in Ontario with Barbara Jackman, specializing in immigration, refugee and national security law.

Samer is an alumnus of the Faculty (JD 2002), and also holds an LL.M in international human rights law from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Since graduating, Samer has remained connected to the Faculty in numerous ways, including lecturing through the LAWS and IHRP programs, and supervising IHRP interns.  

Petra Molnar, Technology and Human Rights Researcher

Petra Molnar is a lawyer in Toronto, Canada and an alumna of the IHRP (Juris Doctor 2016). She has worked on forced migration and refugee issues since 2008 as a settlement worker, researcher, and lawyer. Petra regularly shares her work domestically and internationally and writes about immigration detention, health and human rights, gender-based violence, and the politics of refugee, immigration, and international law. She is currently exploring the impacts of automated-decision making and artificial intelligence in Canada’s immigration and refugee system on human rights, in a joint project with The Citizen Lab.

Petra articled at the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, which works with women who have experienced violence, and is on the executive committee of the Canadian Association for the Study of Forced Migration. She is also starting a research institute and working on a book on the Syrian conflict and refugee resilience with her Syrian collaborator Mayss al-Zoubi. Petra is an LL.M candidate (2019) at the University of Cambridge, specializing in international law.

Yolanda Song, William C. Graham Research Associate

Yolanda Song is a lawyer and an alumna of the IHRP and the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law (JD 2017). As an IHRP summer research fellow and clinic student, Yolanda worked extensively on immigration detention issues in Canada, and in particular on the impact of immigration detention on children. Her work contributed to the publication of two reports, “No Life for a Child”: A Roadmap to End Immigration Detention of Children and Family Separation (2016) and Invisible Citizens: Canadian Children in Immigration Detention (2017). Yolanda is currently exploring the impacts of predictive analytics in Canada’s criminal justice system, including in policing, bail and sentencing procedures, and in the prison system.

Yolanda articled at a civil litigation boutique, Stevenson Whelton MacDonald & Swan LLP, and was called to the bar in 2018.