Enabling Civil Society: Democracy & Dissent Conference

Friday, October 20, 2017 - 09:00
Enabling Civil Society: Democracy & Dissent Conference

Enabling Civil Society: Democracy & Dissent conference aims to explore ways in which legal, regulatory, and policy frameworks can support civil society to flourish. The central theme of an enabling environment invites participants to re-imagine our relationship with civil society. Read the Enabling Civil Society concept note here.

Friday, October 20, 2017, 9 AM to 6 PM
Faculty of Law, McGill University
3644 Peel Street, Montreal, Qc

Civil society leaders, academics, students and practitioners will meet in Montreal to discuss selected themes that are central to enabling civil society, including: global developments in civil society and human rights; modernizing Canada’s regulatory framework for charities and creating space for advocacy; the impact of national security measures on the enabling environment for civil society, and the role of “safe spaces” in free speech, advocacy, and dissent. The day's programme can be viewed here.

This part of the conference is by invitation only and registration is full; the concept notes for the panels and roundtable can be consulted here. Pre-conference interviews and live-streaming of portions of the event will be available on Voices-Voix's social media channel. For inquiries, please contact the Voices-Voix coordinator here.

Civil Society at Risk?: International Perspectives

Friday, October 20, 2017, 6 PM
Room 312 (please note change in room)
Faculty of Law, McGill University

This seminar is accredited by a recognized provider for 2 hours of continuing legal education.

Freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly are fundamental to the work of civil society organizations. They amplify the voices of civil society groups, many of which work with those who are marginalized and vulnerable. But their role and their advocacy make them targets for political attack. The global advocacy for the rights of migrants and minorities and women, and those opposing them have made headlines in Canada, the United States and internationally in recent months. How do we craft a principled response to the challenges facing these organizations that respects diversity of voice while supporting a progressive approach to human rights?

Featuring presentations by

Françoise Girard
Alex Neve
François Crépeau
Françoise Girard
President of the International Women’s Health Coalition
Alex Neve
Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada
François Crépeau Full Professor, Faculty of Law, McGill University and former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants

Attendance to public lecture is free but by pre-registration only. Please register here by October 13th.

Social Media and Public awareness

Thanks to funding from the Rubin Foundation, social media will be used to invite nonprofit leaders and other actors in the environmental and social justice movements to share their views about the key challenges facing civil society today and to engage with a broader audience before, during and after the conference. Voices-Voix's social media channel will also be used to broadcast a selection of the panels during the conference. We will also post the recordings after the conference for those who could not attend and for future reference.


Conference steering committee

Pearl Eliadis, Co-Chair. Human rights lawyer at Eliadis Law Office
Julia Sànchez, Co-Chair. President and CEO, Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC)
Lisa Lalande, Executive Lead, Mowat NFP
Madeleine Macdonald, McGill Law Student
Tim McSorley, National Coordinator, International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group
Rushdia Mehreen, Voices-Voix Coordinator
Frederick John Packer, Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Human Rights Research and Education Centre (HRREC) at the University of Ottawa
Meghan Pearson, McGill Law Student
Nandini Ramanujam, Associate Professor (Professional) and Executive Director and Director of Programs, McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism



The conference is co-convened by the Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC), Voices-Voix, and the McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism at the Faculty of Law, McGill University.



The conference is hosted by the McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism.



We gratefully acknowledge the generous support of the following organizations: