HRREC members among the authors of an international collective work on access to justice for vulnerable groups

Human Rights Research and Education Centre
Access to justice
Human rights

By University of Ottawa

Human Rights Research and Education Centre, HRREC

Book cover: Justice and legitimacy in America
HRREC members Pierre Gilles Bélanger (Adjunct Professor, Civil Law Section) and Melisa Handl (Ph.D. in Law) and Gloria Song (Ph.D. candidate in law), as well as colleagues from the University of Ottawa, Professor Eva Ottawa (Civil Law Section) and Vinícius Alves Barreto da Silva (Ph.D. candidate in law), have added their voices to a collaborative work from Canada, Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay, Mexico, and Chile. The publication is entitled "Justice and legitimacy in America: judicial spaces for vulnerable groups of special protection".

This joint publication was published under the review of a committee of experts of the Human Rights Commission of the State of Mexico and is the result of two international seminars held in 2021 and 2022 by the Justice and Democracy Platform.

“The work brings together contributions from very different national realities, but with a common objective: to contribute to understanding the difficulties that access to justice poses for vulnerable groups. The publication allows us to see that the obstacles to being heard know no borders. It shows that equality before justice is still an enormous challenge. A formal declaration that requires concrete actions to become a reality,” explains one of the authors. In addition, Pierre Gilles Bélanger, one of the coordinators of the book, affirms that the publication "provides ideas for opening up horizontal dialogue, as well as offering some avenues for new research and solutions”.

The approaches to these investigations are very different from each other. We find work on Afro-descendant women, refugees, people deprived of their liberty, indigenous people, disabled people, the distinction according to the geographical area of habitat, the LGTBI+ community and others. Everyone united in the face of the discrimination experienced in the different judicial systems and contributed to the reflection of justice, recognizing the differences that unite us.

For the director of the public law department of the Central University in Chile, Mylene Valenzuela who herself participated in this work, "this initiative constitutes a very important step for the realization of the educational project of our Faculty of Law and of human sciences, because such actions promote the integration of international research networks in areas as strategic as human rights, access to justice and democratic legitimacy in the Americas”.

The collective work was presented virtually by the president of the Human Rights Commission of the State of Mexico (CODHEM), who emphasized that the text promotes the protection and dissemination of human rights, in particular access to justice, within the framework of the principles of equality and non-discrimination.