Emerging Human Rights Issues page – 5

Emerging Human Rights Issues

February 16-17, 2006

Agenda

February 16, 2006

2:30 — 3:00 Welcoming remarks: Jean-Louis Roy, President, Rights & Democracy

3:00 — 5:00 Thematic Cluster 1 — Nonstate Actors and Human Rights

Chair: Razmik Panossian, Director of Policy, Programmes

and Planning, Rights & Democracy

Lead Discussant: Ann Jordan, Director, Global Rights

 

Key Questions:

• “Only states commit human rights violations; non-state actors commit crimes.” Is that claim valid and useful? Or do we need a new paradigm?

 

• Should international law and policy change to reflect the reality androle of non-state actors? If so, how? What is an effective approach with respect to corporations? What is an effective approach to armed groups? Are there any common threads?

 

• How can non-state actors (particularly NGOs, businesses and diasporas) become more useful in the development of international policy and delivery of development assistance in the field of human rights?

 

• What other issues are on the horizon? How do we push the agenda forward?

 

6:00 — 9:00 Dinner: Keynote address and discussion

6:00 — 7:00 Cocktail

7:00 — 8:00 Dinner

8:00 — 9:00 Keynote: Vitit Muntarbhorn, Board Member, Rights & Democracy

40 Emerging Human Rights Issues

 

February 17, 2006

8:30 — 9:00 Breakfast

9:00 — 10:45 Thematic Cluster 2 — Culture/Religion and Human Rights

Chair: HenriPaul Normandin, Director, Human Rights, Gender Equality,

Health and Population, Foreign Affairs Canada

 

Lead Discussant: Aminata Traoré, Former Minister of Culture of Mali

 

 

Key Questions:

• How can we give meaning and substance to the universality of human rights? Or is this concept a delusion? Are there more productive approaches to promoting human rights across cultural and religious divides?

 

• Are human rights dialogues effective means of promoting human rights in places with different religious and cultural traditions?

 

• What room is there to accommodate various cultural and religious beliefs in the promotion and protection of human rights? Conversely, are there “red lines” beyond which the human rights community should refuse to compromise with cultural or religious groups (e.g.women’s rights?)

 

• What role can Canada play internationally given its multicultural and multi-religious social composition? Are there groups and institutions we should be working with more closely?

 

• What other issues are on the horizon? How can we push the agenda forward?

10:45 — 11:00 Health break

11:00 — 12:45 Thematic Cluster 3 — Fragile States and Human Rights

Chair: Razmik Panossian, Director of Policy, Programmes and Planning,

 Rights & Democracy

Lead Discussant: Major Brent Beardsley, Research Officer, Canadian Forces

Leadership Institute at the Royal Military College of Canada

 

Key Questions:

• Now that the idea of the Responsibility to Protect has been endorsed by the international community, what will this imply for human rights?

 

• In conflict situations, there are particular concerns for the rights of refugees and internally displaced people; but, are we forgetting other Agenda 41groups? Should we maintain an approach that focuses on particularly vulnerable groups or should we adopt a more holistic approach?

 

• How do we deal with private actors, such as armed groups or corporations,whose behaviour in fragile states has a significantly negative impact on human rights? Conversely, how do we ensure the accountability and effectiveness of NGOs and multilateral institutions, whose objective is to protect and promote human rights?

 

• How should Canada choose and focus its human rights interventions in failed and fragile states?

 

• What other issues are on the horizon? How do we push the agenda forward?

12:45 — 2:00 Luncheon and discussion: Other Emerging Issues?

2:00 — 3:45 Thematic Cluster 4 — Sustainable Development, the Environment and Human Rights

 

Chair: Henri?Paul Normandin, Director, Human Rights, Gender Equality,Health and Population, Foreign Affairs Canada

Lead Discussant: Jorge Daniel Taillant, Executive Director, Centre for Human

Rights and Environment

 

Key Questions:

• Are human rights approaches to development useful on-the-ground tools? Or are they pie in the sky?

 

• What are the productive and promising avenues for convergence between environmental and human rights issues?

  • Should concepts such as the right to water and the right to development be entrenched in law? What are the benefits and what are the obstacles?

 

• What have we learned with respect to human rights in the context of natural disasters? What needs to be tried or done better next time?

 

• What other issues are on the horizon? How can we push the agenda forward?

3:45 — 4:00 Health break

4:00 — 5:00 Summary and Conclusions