Canadian/Anglophone African Human Rights Engagements

About The Conference

Osgoode Hall Law School in conjunction with Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime and Security and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada will be hosting an interdisciplinary international conference entitled: Canadian/Anglophone African Human Rights Engagements: A Critical Assessment of the Literature and a Research Agenda Conference.

The conference will bring together Canadian and Anglophone African scholars from Botswana, Kenya, Canada, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, United States, Canada and United Kingdom.

The Conference will connect Canadian and Anglophone African scholars and practitioners whose work focuses to a significant degree on the Canadian/Anglophone Africa human rights engagements and allow them to closely debate the topic and test ideas. The conference will be a ground breaking event in the history of Canada-Anglophone cooperation in the arena of human rights and other related engagements. As the theme suggests, this conference will provide an opportunity for critical reflections, discussions, engagements and exchange of ideas over a large array of scholarly literature on the Canada-Anglophone human rights agenda. Its foremost goal will deepen an interdisciplinary, transnational, trans-occupational and public conversations and collaborations on this theme. Its other purpose will be to articulate and interrogate the obtaining status, attained achievements, problems encountered and future prospects of the grand Canadian-Anglophone human rights project.

The Conference is convened by Professor Obiora Okafor, the inaugural York Research Chair in International and Transnational Legal Studies at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, with the assistance of Okey Williams Kalu (Conference Coordinator and PhD Candidate at Osgoode) and  Okechukwu Jake Effoduh (Conference Co-cordinator and LLM Candidate at Osgoode)

Come participate and discuss with us.


Basil Ugochukwu holds a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) from Abia State University, Uturu, Nigeria; a Master of Laws (LL.M) degree in International Human Rights Law from the Central European University, Budapest, Hungary and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Comparative Human Rights Law from Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Canada. He is currently a Post-Doctoral Fellow, (International Law) at the Centre for International Governance Innovation, (CIGI) in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Dr. Ugochukwu worked for several years as an activist in the Nigerian human rights and pro-democracy movement. He is an Open Society Justice Initiative Fellow and won the Osgoode Hall Law School Walter Williston Essay Prize on Civil Liberties in 2010. He was Lead Editor of the Osgoode Hall Review of Law and Policy, Contributing Editor to the Dissent and Democracy Network and is currently a co-Managing Editor of the Transnational Human Rights Review. He is also a 2016 Fellow of the Transnational Law Summer Institute at Kings College, London.

 Paper Title: “Threading a Fine Line: Canada and the Quest for Environmental Rights in Africa”

Bonolo Ramadi Dinokopila graduated from the University of Botswana in 2007. He read for and completed his Master’s Degree (cum laude) in Human Rights and Democratization in Africa (H.R.D.A) at the University of Pretoria in 2008. He obtained his Doctor of Laws (LLD) degree in 2013 at the same University specialising in international human rights law, public international law and international institutional law. Dr. Dinokopila has done consultancy work for the ILO, UNDP, the Disability Office in the Office of the President in Collaboration with UNFPA, International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) a collaborative effort between the governments of the United States of America (USA) and Botswana. He is a member of the Country Advisory Committee (CAC), Southern African HIV/AIDS Trust (SAT) and was Vice Chair, Rainbow Identity Association in 2011. Dr Dinokopila is the Chairperson of the Board of Directors for the Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA).

He is currently a senior Lecturer and Head in the Department of Law, University of Botswana. He teaches, among others, human rights law, customary law, employment law and international humanitarian law. Dr Dinokopila has published widely on international human rights and constitutional law.

Paper Title: “Canadian/Botswana Human Rights Engagements: A Critical Assessment of the Literature and a Research Agenda.”

Halima Doma Kutigi is a Lecturer, and currently Deputy Dean of Law at the Nasarawa State University Keffi, Nigeria. She holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree and a Masters Degree in Law, both from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Nigeria. She is presently concluding her doctoral research programme on Disability Rights in Nigeria at the University of Jos.

She teaches and supervises mainly public law courses like Legal System, Justice Administration, and International Humanitarian Law. She has also published on those areas.

Halima is a barrister at law and a Notary Public. She was also a research fellow at the National Judicial Institute, and an intern at the National Human Rights Commission. She is in active legal practice, and frequently renders pro bono services.


Irehobhude (Ireh) Iyioha is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Alberta, Canada. She is also an Assistant Adjunct Professor of Health Law, Ethics and Policy at the John Dossetor Health Ethics Centre in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta, a position she has held since 2012. Prior to joining the Health Ethics Centre at the University of Alberta in 2011 as a Visiting Academic, she held professorial and teaching positions at Western University and the University of British Columbia, Canada.

Dr. Iyioha is co-editor of the book Comparative Health Law and Policy: Critical Perspectives on Nigerian and Global Health Law (Ashgate, 2015) – a book described by world experts in the field as “bold and path-breaking” – and she has published substantially in various leading Canadian and international journals. Her work has been consulted for policy reform and cited at key policy platforms locally and internationally, including in multiple Submissions before the Joint Standing Committee on Migration (Inquiry into the Treatment of Disability) in Australia.

Beyond her academic platform, Dr. Iyioha has held policy positions with the Governments of Alberta and Ontario in Canada. She is the recipient of numerous national and international academic awards, fellowships, and recognitions, including the World Congress on Medical Law Award from the World Association for Medical Law, the First Atlantic Bank Prize for Contribution to Peace and Academic Development at the University of Benin, Nigeria, and most recently, the 2016 Canadian Immigrant of Distinction Award for outstanding achievements in professional and service capacities.

Dr. Iyioha is a past CIHR Fellow (Canadian Institutes of Health Research Training Program in Health Law and Policy), and was a Liu Scholar at the UBC Liu Institute for Global Issues and member of the Clinical Ethics Committee of the University of Alberta and Stollery Children’s Hospitals and the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute. She holds law degrees from the University of British Columbia (PhD), the University of Toronto (LLM), the Nigerian Law School (BL), and the University of Benin (LLB with Highest Honours).

Paper Title: “Reproducing Rights: Canadian-African Human Rights Engagement, Indigeneity and the Spaces Beyond the (Norm Life) Cycle.”

Julena Jumbe Gabagambi is an Assistant Lecturer in Law at the University of Iringa, Tanzania. She holds a diploma in Law, Bachelor of Laws and an LLM in Criminal Law and Criminal Justice from Mzumbe University, Tumaini University Iringa University College and the University of Birmingham (UK) respectively. She is currently a PhD student at the Open University of Tanzania researching in the area of Restorative Justice.

Julena is currently coordinating LLM programmes at the University of Iringa and heading the department of Legal Aid and Education.

She has worked as a Legal Officer with the National Environment Management Council and the National Organization for Legal Assistance. In addition to that she has worked with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in the capacity of Repatriation Assistant.

She teaches Criminal Law and Procedure, Transnational Criminal Law, Family Law, Law for Community Development, Child Law and National Protection of Human Rights in Tanzania.

Paper Title: “Canadian/Tanzanian Human Rights Engagements: A Critical Assessment of the Literature and Research Agenda”

Matiangai Sirleaf is an Assistant Professor of Law at the University Pittsburgh Law School.  Her scholarly work asks how institutions can more systematically address the challenges of providing redress for survivors of mass violence in resource-constrained contexts.  Her work draws on insights from the fields of international law and human rights, as well as criminal law.  Her most recent publication is Regionalism, Regime Complexes and International Criminal Justice in Africa 54 Colum. J. Transnat’l L. 699 (2016). She is a graduate of Yale Law School.  Prior to law school, she earned an M.A. in International Affairs, from the University of Ghana-Legon while on a Fulbright Fellowship.  Matiangai’s practice experience includes serving as counsel in the International Human Rights Practice Group at Cohen Milstein, where she assisted with numerous cutting-edge international human rights cases, representing victims of human trafficking and forced labor, torture, enforced disappearance, extrajudicial killing, and arbitrary detention. Prior to this, she worked in South Africa where she clerked on the Constitutional Court for South Africa for former Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo, taught a course on civic engagement with human rights for the International Human Rights Exchange Programme at the University of Witwatersrand, and worked at the International Center for Transitional Justice in Cape Town, South Africa on a Bernstein Fellowship (a fellowship for selected Yale Law School graduates to engage in full-time human rights advocacy).


Misozi Lwatula is a lecturer at the University of Zambia doing a Phd at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom. The topic of her research is entitled Gender Based Violence in Zambia.

She has taught courses in gender, the law and discrimination, human rights, international law and criminal law.

Apart from being a lecturer at the University, she also served as Assistance Dean Postgraduate and was a member of the Law Reporting Council of Zambia.

She has been involved in a number of projects as a consultant involving women’s rights, human rights, public participation in Zambia and was also involved in the consultancy with Disaster Management Mitigation Unit (DMMU) and came up with a manual that is currently used by DMMU Zambia.

Paper Title: “Canadian/Zambian Human Rights Engagements: A Critical Assessment of the Literature and Research Agenda.”

Miyawa Maxwel holds a Bachelor of Laws degree (LL.B) from the University of Nairobi and a Master of Laws (LL.M) in Human Rights, Governance and Democracy from the same University. He also holds a postgraduate Diploma in Law from Kenya School of Law, a necessary requirement for practice of law in Kenya. He is currently a PhD Candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School of York University conducting a focused research on human rights accountability standards for transnational corporations and international organizations. Prior to this engagement, Mr. Miyawa served as a Law Clerk to the immediate former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga at the inaugural Supreme Court of Kenya. He has also been a Law Clerk at the Constitutional Court of South Africa. Mr. Miyawa is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya and has been engaged in extensive human rights advocacy, practice and research, particularly in the areas of judicial enforcement of socio-economic rights and dialogic judicialism.



Okechukwu (Jake) Effoduh is an LLM Candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School researching on Activist Forces in West Africa and their pursuits for environemtnal and socioeconomic justice in the region.  He is currently under the supervision of Professor Obiora Okafor. Okechukwu is the Assistant Director of the Council on African Security and Development, a research-driven collectivity of experts that offer guidance and strategy to African organizations. He is also a consultant with Synceritas: the first human rights intelligence assessor for business enterprises globally. Okechukwu has worked as a Research Fellow with the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, as well as a litigation counsel with the law firm, Afe Babalola and Co. Outside the realm of legal practice, Okechukwu has for more than a decade used traditional media for social justice causes and human rights advocacy in Nigeria. Since 2006, he has been anchoring a radio magazine that airs on over 150 radio stations in Nigeria with than 30 million listeners tuning in weekly. He obtained his LL.B from the University of Abuja in Nigeria and a Masters in International Law from the University of Oxford, United Kingdom.



Moses Retselisitsoe Phooko’s qualifications include, a Diploma in Human Rights from the University of North-West, a Bachelor of Laws degree from the North-West University, an LLM degree in International Human Rights Law from the University of Notre Dame (USA), and a LLD degree from the University of South Africa. He is also an advocate of the High Court of South Africa.

Presently, he is a senior lecturer and Head of Research Committee in the Department of Jurisprudence, University of South Africa. He teaches Research Skills for Law. He also supervises LLM and LLD students. Retselisitsoe has published articles in peer-reviewed academic journals in the areas of international law, philosophy and human rights. Prior Joining UNISA, Retselisitsoe worked for the Legal Resources Centre (a non-governmental organization) where his duties included representing both farm and shack dwellers who faced eminent evictions. He also worked as a law researcher at the Constitutional Court of South Africa under Justice Zak Yacoob.

He is a reviewer for the following academic journals:

  • South African Mercantile Law Journal
  • Washington International Law Journal
  • South African Journal of Philosophy and a
  • Trainee editor for South African Yearbook of International Law

Retselisitsoe is also an independent consultant for the Law Society of South Africa. He recently conducted a study commissioned by the Law Society of South Africa about the uneven distribution of legal work in the legal profession and released a report titled “Distribution of Legal Work in the Legal Profession in South Africa2015/2016.

Paper Title: “Evaluating Canadian – South African Collaborative Human Rights Initiatives.”

W. R. Nadège Compaoré is a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Social Science at York University. She holds a PhD in Political Studies from Queen’s University, and her work lies at the intersection of International Relations and International Law scholarships. Her current project investigates the evolution of mining legislations in West Africa, and their implications for both home and host state behaviour. Compaoré’s work speaks to issues of sovereignty, natural resource governance and development in postcolonial African countries. She is co-editor of New Approaches to the Governance of Natural Resources: Insights from Africa, Palgrave (2015).


Olabisi D. Akinkugbe is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, Canada where he teaches Contracts, International Trade Law, and Law & Development. He earned his masters from the University of Toronto, Canada, and an LL.B. from the University of Lagos, Nigeria. He is completing his doctoral degree at the Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa. His research agenda is situated within contemporary debates on the role of law in economic development and on the potential for an alliance of various traditions from development economics, law, history and politics to understand development policy. At the heart of his research work is an examination of the embedded role of law as a tool for socio-economic development in contracts and regional trade agreements. This idea has informed my doctoral work, publications and forthcoming research. He adopts a socio-legal approach in his thesis to examine how the implementation of the ECOWAS Treaties been shaped and influenced by the changing historical, economic and political conditions in the region. Prior to his doctoral work, Bisi worked as a Legal Counsel on the first public-private partnership road project in West Africa where he advised on various aspects of the transaction and project execution. His research interests include Business Law, Transnational Law, socio-legal approaches to law, Law & Development, and African Regional Economic Integration.

Paper Title: “Canada in Africa: An Overview of some Canadian Development Projects in West Africa.”

Okey Williams Kalu is a PhD Candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School and Teaching Assistant at York University, Toronto, Canada. His research is in the broad area of Housing and Human Rights: “Protecting the Human Rights to Adequate Housing of the Homeless in Nigeria: A Case Study of the Fourth Republic (1999-2015)”. He obtained his LLB and LLM in Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR), from the National University of Ireland with a strong academic background in Political Science & Administrative Studies as his first degree and a Master degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management (Nig).

Okey is the first foreign national to run for an elective position in County Mayo, Ireland having been nominated by a major political party in Ireland to contest the Castlebar Town Council Election.

He is the founder and former Coordinator of African Community in Mayo, Ireland; an organization established for the proper integration of African living in Mayo, Ireland into the mainstream activities of their hosts community. He also worked with Citizens Information Services, Ireland as an Information Officer, where he facilitated the training of foreign nationals in information provision within the Citizens Information service and advocated on behalf of clients in cases of service delivery failures in government agencies or other business concerns.

His working life/career spans three continents; Africa, Europe and North America. Okey has worked and excelled in different capacities; including as a Relationship/Marketing Manager with Standard Trust Bank before the commencement of his doctoral program.

He is also the Conference Coordinator of the Canadian/Anglophone African Human Rights Engagements: A Critical Assessment of the Literature and a Research Agenda Conference.


Rahina Zarma is a doctoral candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School, researching issues of environmental justice and the roles of regional human rights courts. She is also a protection and legal officer at the Nigerian Refugee Commission, where she serves as a Refugee Status Determination (RSD) officer. Previously a litigation lawyer, she is now interested in public international law, refugee law, human rights, environmental justice and displacement and migration law. She’s a member of a number of academic associations in Nigeria, Canada and the US.


Saratu Bissallah Alao’s academic training and work experience have included both domestic and international perspectives on research and implementation of Human Rights. Her background in law includes a Law Degree from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria,and a Master’s Degree in Law from Coventry University, United Kingdom. Starting this autumn of 2017, she will be pursuing a PHD in Human Rights Law. She served as a Counsel in Chamber with K.T Turaki & Co, Abuja, Nigeria, before proceeding to join the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies as a Research Fellow II. She was in service from July 2013-March 2016. She has also been a Visiting Researcher at the Nathanson Centre within the Osgoode Law School of York University, Toronto, Canada.


Solomon Ukhuegbe is a senior lecturer with the Department of Public Law, University of Benin, Nigeria. He obtained the LL.B. degree from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife, LL.M. from the University of Benin, and Ph.D from the Osgoode Hall Law School of York University, Toronto. He was admitted to the Nigerian bar in July 1983. He currently teaches criminal law (LL.B.), law of armed conflict, and international criminal law (master’s). He has supervised dozens of master’s and doctoral theses.

His research interests are mainly constitutional law and theory, legal theory, criminal law, human rights law, international humanitarian law, and judicial research. His doctoral dissertation on institutionalization of the Supreme Court of Nigeria motivated his on-going ‘Supreme Court of Nigeria Project,’ an unprecedented large scale research, to code the output of the Supreme Court since 1956.

His most recent publications include studies of recruitment and tenure of justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, jurisdictional reform of the Court, death penalty in Nigeria, constitutional amendment, emergency powers, constitutional rights, international law, violence against women, and many others. He is about completing a definitive study on constitutional theory, Constitutional Theory and Methodology.

Paper Title : “Human Rights Discourses In Nigeria Across Time: Trajectory, Successes and Potentials for Foreign Engagement.

Sylvia Bawa is an Assistant Professor in Sociology at York University. She holds a PhD in Sociology from Queen’s University, Canada and has research interests in human rights, postcolonial feminisms, development theory and globalization. Within a postcolonial African feminist theoretical framework, Dr. Bawa focuses on discourses of culture, women’s rights and empowerment in sub-Saharan Africa by examining the ways in which historical forces and events shape current political, economic, cultural and social circumstances whilst highlighting the particular contradictory and paradoxical outcomes they produce at national, global and local levels. She has published works in Third World Quarterly, the International Journal of Public Administration, Development in Practice and the Canadian Journal of Development Studies.

Paper Title: ” A Critical Assessment of universalism, difference and cultural exceptionalism in Human Rights Discourse and Practice in Ghana.”

Uchechukwu Ngwaba is a Doctoral Student and Sessional Tutor of Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. His research is in the broad area of Health and Human Rights. Uche worked as a Research Fellow at the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies Lagos before the commencement of his doctoral program. He is a Co-Managing Editor of the Transnational Human Rights Review. He also served as the Editor in Chief of the NewMac Humanity Journal, a joint publication of Higher Degree Research Students of Macquarie and Newcastle Universities in Sydney, Australia.

Paper Title : “Canadian/Anglophone African Human Rights Engagement: A Critical Assessment of the Literature on Health Rights

Udoka Ndidiamaka Owie is a Senior Lecturer in Law at Baze University, Abuja. She holds an LLB (Nig.) and is a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. She obtained her LLM and PhD, both in International Law, from the London School of Economics and Political Science. She has been a Visiting Scholar at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Canada. In addition to being in active legal practice, her scholarly interests lie in the areas of public international law, human rights, international humanitarian law, international criminal law and the law and practice of international organizations.

Paper Title: “In Search of Accountability: A Critical Assessment of the Literature on the Immunity of State Officials in International Law for Human Rights Violations.

Uwafiokun Idemudia is Associate Professor in the Department of Social Science at York University. His research interests are in the area of critical development studies, political economy and political ecology approaches to natural resource extraction in developing countries, business and development, issues of governance, transparency and accountability in resource rich African countries. He is also interested in the relationship between development and conflict as well as environmental security. Professor Idemudia has published works in a number of journals including Journal of Business Ethics, Business and Society Review, Sustainable Development and Journal of International Development. Presently, he sits on the Editorial Board of both Journal of Business Ethics: European Review and Corporate Governance: International Journal of Business and Society as an Associate Editor.


Cynthia Kwakyewah is a Masters student in Interdisciplinary Studies at York University with academic interests in sustainable development, governance and politics in Sub-Saharan Africa, corporate human rights responsibility and issues of social justice.
Her Master’s research is informed by the engagements with scholarship in international law, business, and international development: “Doing Just Business: An empirical analysis of mining multinationals, human rights and community development in Western Ghana”. Under this topic, Cynthia is critically examining the relationship between business and human rights and its implication for sustainable community development in Ghana’s gold mining sector.

A recipient of the Graduate Fellowship for Academic Distinction, Cynthia has worked as a Research Associate on a variety of projects at the Department of Geography, Social Science, Jean Augustine Chair in Education in the New Urban Environment, and the Harriet Tubman Institute.

Paper Title: “Business & Human Rights in the Ghanaian Extractive Industry: The Quest for Corporate Accountability.”


Policy Brief

Policy Brief on Canadian-African Human Rights Engagements – Literature Review and Agenda for Research

We are very happy to announce the launch of our latest Policy Brief on the Canadian-African Human Rights Engagements: Literature Review and Agenda for Research

This Policy Brief provides a summary of two (2) components of the project:

+ The International Conference on Canadian-African Human Rights Engagements: A Literature Review and an Agenda for Research;
+ The Special Journal published in the Transnational Human Rights Review.

Click here to download Policy Brief

Feel free to reach out to us with your feedback. Thank you.