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May Advocate 2017

THE ADVOCATE V O L . 7 5 P A R T 3 M A Y 2 0 1 7 399 the significance of international human rights in interpreting and applying the Charter protections at issue. The Ontario Court of Appeal cited LRWC’s position at paragraphs 139–140 of its decision; these paragraphs reflect an important step in the recognition of international human rights instruments in domestic constitutional cases: 139 Fourth, I agree with the intervener Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada that international human rights law, and especially international treaties and other documents that bind Canada, is relevant in assessing the reasonableness of the LSUC’s decision. In that vein, I note that Article 18(3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 19 December 1966, 999 U.N.Y.S. 171, Can. T.S. 1976, provides: Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others. Emphasis added. 140 In my view, the LSUC’s balancing in its accreditation decision was faithful to this article of an important international law document to which Canada is a signatory. During the past year LRWC members have also conducted in-country investigations in Honduras, Colombia and Thailand and a prison visit in Turkey. An example of in-country investigation is LRWC participation in the biennial Colombia Caravana, an international delegation of lawyers and judges to Colombia in response to the request of Colombian human rights lawyers who have been under intense pressure from the Colombian government and other sources since 2008. LRWC delegates have been part of the Colombia Caravana in 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016. The 2016 tour included four Canadian lawyers and a judge. LRWC participation in the Caravana has spawned various advocacy efforts aside from the reports produced each year, including amici briefs and other forms of intervention in support of the right of the lawyers and other human rights defenders to practise without fear for their safety, professional integrity and reputation. As part of its education and legal research mandate, LRWC hosts talks and publishes guidebooks, articles and working papers on topics within its mandate, such as rights to pre-trial release; legal aid; timely and confidential access to counsel; an independent, impartial and competent court to determine rights; trial by a civilian court; and protection from and remedies for violations. Further, LRWC has published The Right to Dissent, a 240-page book, available in print and e-book form through Amazon, with guidance for protesters, lawyers, police, corporations engaged in resource extraction and other activities affecting land and water rights, prosecutors and the courts. On its cover it is described as “a guide to international law obligations to


May Advocate 2017
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