Acting President Named at Rights & Democracy

The Board of Directors of Rights & Democracy has recently named its chairperson, Kathleen Mahoney, acting President of the organization.

MONTREAL, June 7, 2002 – The Board of Directors of Rights & Democracy has recently named its chairperson, Kathleen Mahoney, acting President of the organization.

Ms. Mahoney, a law professor at the University of Calgary, replaces Warren Allmand, whose mandate came to an end on May 25, 2002 after a five-year term.

“This is a very challenging position and it will be very difficult to follow in the footsteps of my predecessor,” Ms. Mahoney today said, adding that she hopes that Prime Minister Jean Chr?tien will soon appoint a permanent president.

“Warren’s commitment and integrity has helped to make Rights & Democracy a respected, distinctly Canadian voice in the human rights world. From the International Criminal Court to his support reparation of “comfort women” he is recognized as a standard bearer for universal values of human rights around the world. He will be truly missed.”

Ms. Mahoney is a well-known human rights advocate. She holds law degrees from the University of British Columbia, Cambridge University and a diploma from the Institute of Comparative Human Rights Law in Strasbourg, France. She has published extensively on human rights, constitutional law and women’s rights, as well as on judicial education. She has received many awards and distinctions for her work including the Governor General’s Medal for her contribution to the promotion of women’s equality.

She has successfully appeared as counsel in the Supreme Court of Canada in a number of cases, most notably in the two leading cases for the legal regulation of hate propaganda and pornography. From July 1993-95, she was counsel and advocate on a team of international lawyers representing Bosnia and Herzegovina in the International Court of Justice, focusing on the issue of systematic rape as a crime of genocide. In 1998 she was appointed by then Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy, chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Montreal-based Rights & Democracy.

Rights & Democracy (International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development) is a Canadian institution with an international mandate. It was created by Parliament in 1988. Rights & Democracy is an independent organization, which promotes, advocates and defends the democratic and human rights set out in the International Bill of Human Rights. In cooperation with civil society and governments in Canada and abroad, Rights & Democracy initiates and supports programmes to strengthen laws and democratic institutions, principally in developing countries.

Although its mandate is wide-ranging, Rights & Democracy presently focuses its work on four thematic priorities: Democratic Development, Women’s Rights, the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Globalization and Human Rights; and two special operations: International Human Rights Advocacy and Urgent Action and Important Opportunities.

Information: Patricia Poirier – Mary Durran . Tel.: 514 283 6073