Posts Tagged ‘human rights of indigenous women’

Advocate and human rights consultant Céleste McKay has worked extensively in the field of indigenous rights, both nationally and internationally. Her remarks at Thursday’s roundtable were focused on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, with special attention paid to those provisions pertaining to indigenous women (She also brought along pocket-size copies of the Declaration- very handy!).  Céleste called the Declaration an historic achievement for human rights, and said that it is the culmination of decades of work for a large and diverse group of activists. Adopted by the UN in 2007, she noted Canada’s inconsistent attitude toward the Declaration, having supported its development, then opposed its adoption, finally issuing a statement of ‘support’ for it in late 2010 (though, so far, Canada has not officially adopted it).

Céleste highlighted some of the most pressing issues facing indigenous women in Canada and around the world, particularly economic marginalization and the difficulties posed by outdated and racist colonial legislation. Of fundamental importance to fighting the multiple forms of oppression experienced by indigenous women is the understanding that the human rights recognized in the Declaration are indivisible and interdependent. She spoke of the challenge to non-indigenous people to think carefully about the rights of indigenous women, in respect to land rights, rape as a weapon of war and (in Canada particularly) the state of marital and property law for indigenous women.

The roundtable wrapped up with an engaging and lively group discussion, covering a broad range of topics from access to justice and legal education, the role of feminism in indigenous rights, as well as proposed bill C-3 and possible changes to indigenous identity policy.

* Eli Mitchell is a first year law student. She is a frequent contributor to the FLF blog.

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With this term drawing to a close, the FLF is looking ahead to some exciting events in the new year. We have some great guests coming to facilitate roundtables and we are just thrilled at how the winter term is shaping up.

So save the date for…

January 13 at noon social justice talk with Prof. Debra Parkes and Meghan Daniel

The FLF is pleased to support this event being hosted by the faculty. Ms. Daniel and Prof. Parkes are writing a paper together entitled “The G20 Protests, Mass Arrests and Mass Detention: Fundamental Freedoms and (Un)Common Criminals” and their talk will focus on legal issues arising from the G20 protests and their aftermath.

Debra Parkes is an Associate Professor at Robson Hall. Prof. Parkes teaches and researches in the areas of constitutional and human rights law, criminal law, employment law, prisoners’ rights, Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, sentencing and penal policy and equality rights.

Meghan Daniel is a former Robson Hall student who is now a lawyer with Klippensteins in Toronto. Klippensteins is a small, progressive, justice-centered law firm. Ms. Daniels was a legal observer at the G20 protests and her story of that event is emblematic of the human rights issues arising from the mass arrests and mass detentions.

This is definitely an event you won’t want to miss!

January 21 at noon – roundtable with Dr. Emma Cunliffe

Emma Cunliffe (UBC, Faculty of Law) will be joining us to lead a roundtable on feminism and evidence law. This will be a great discussion for both those who have taken evidence and those who haven’t. The specific topic of discussion is TBD, but we are so excited to host Dr. Cunliffe to discuss feminist perspectives on evidence law.

Dr Emma Cunliffe is an Assistant Professor at the UBC Faculty of Law.  She won the Killam Prize for Teaching Excellence in 2010 and has pioneered the use of problem-based learning in her classes at UBC.  Dr Cunliffe’s research focuses on expert evidence in homicide trials, particularly expert medical evidence.  Her forthcoming book (Murder, Medicine and Motherhood: Hart, 2011) considers the role of sudden infant death syndrome and normative conceptions of motherhood in child homicide prosecutions in the early 21st century.  In her current work, Emma is considering the social and legal context in which 20 parents and caregivers were wrongly accused of murder by Ontario pathologist Charles Smith.  In addition,Emma is conducting the first comprehensive survey of admissibility decisions regarding expert evidence in Canadian courts, in an effort to identify whether some types of expertise are scrutinized more closely than others by judges and lawyers.

February 17 at noon

We will be partnering with the Manitoba Aboriginal Law Students’ Association (MALSA) to host Celeste MacKay.  Celeste will be discussing the human rights of indigenous women. Celeste’s advocacy work has focused on the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and this event will take into consideration the Declaration in a feminist context, tying in violence, discrimination rights, rights related to economic, social and cultural rights and the right to self-determination

Céleste McKay is a Métis woman from Manitoba, with a background in social work and law. In 2007, Céleste received her LL.M. degree from the University of Ottawa which focused on the international right to health of Indigenous women in Canada.  She has worked in the areas of human rights, policy, research and advocacy work, both nationally and internationally, primarily on behalf of Indigenous women’s organizations. Céleste is a Consultant on Human Rights and International Affairs.

We’re working on something exciting for March and will be sure to alert everyone when we have more details!

Happy holidays!

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