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New book tackles competing human rights: York U launch Wednesday

TORONTO, November 27, 2012 − The practice of human rights is becoming increasingly complex in diverse societies such as Canada according to a new book edited by two York professors and a director with the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC).

Balancing Competing Human Rights Claims in a Diverse Society: Institutions, Policy, Principles (Irwin Law) explores the dilemma of balancing competing human rights in diverse societies where the claim to a right by one individual or group directly affects another’s claim. 

The book will be launched at York University on Wednesday with Barbara Hall, chief commissioner of OHRC, as guest speaker.  

Published in cooperation with the OHRC, it was co-edited by York Professor Lorne Foster of the School of Public Policy & Administration, Department of Equity Studies in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS) and director of the graduate program in Public Policy & Law; York political science Professor Les Jacobs, academic director/executive director of the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice at Osgoode Hall Law School; and Shaheen Azmi, director, policy, education, monitoring and outreach at OHRC.

The book – a major academic text produced by a government agency and university professors working together − is the culmination of work that began in 2005 when the OHRC embarked on developing the first policy in Canada to address competing human rights claims. After wide consultation, Ontario released a policy in April.

York U’s Centre for Human Rights is a strong supporter of the OHRC’s new policy and is seeking ways in which to incorporate the competing rights resolution framework into its case resolution processes.

Part One of the book presents the policy and background. Part Two explores broad principles at stake when human rights compete. It examines the reconciliation of legal rights, reaching equilibrium between conflicting rights, regulating hate speech in Canada, as well as where sexual orientation and religion fit in, and the rights of persons with disabilities.

WHAT:        Launch of “Balancing Competing Human Rights Claims in a Diverse Society”
WHEN:       Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, 6 to 8pm
WHERE:     Senior Common Room at McLaughlin College, Keele campus.
MAP:           Building 51 on MAP of Keele campus

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Media Contact:
Janice Walls, Media Relations, York University, 416 736 2100 x22101 / wallsj@yorku.ca