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Former Canadian Justice Min. Irwin Cotler honored by World Jewish Congress, ICJP in Jerusalem


WJC, Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold, Congressman and ICJP Chairman Eliot Engel, Outgoing ICJP Deputy Chairman Irwin Cotler, Honorary Vice President of WJC Isi Leibler, and WJC CEO Robert Singer at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, December 21, 2015. (c) Shahar AzranForeign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold, Congressman and ICJP Chairman Eliot Engel, Outgoing ICJP Deputy Chairman Irwin Cotler, Honorary Vice President of WJC Isi Leibler, and WJC CEO Robert Singer at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, December 21, 2015. (c) Shahar Azran

ICJP Chairman U.S. Congressman Eliot Engel and Honorary Vice President of the World Jewish Congress Isi Leibler presented a gift of appreciation to Cotler during a former dinner at the King David Hotel. “If one looks to this generation and seeks a role model, that would be Irwin Cotler,” Leibler said.

The ICJP brought 12 Jewish parliamentarians from around the world to the Israeli capital for three days of meetings and briefings with senior Israeli officials and members of Knesset, including opposition leader Isaac Herzog, Minister of Education and Diaspora affairs Naftali Bennett, MK Yair Lapid, MK Michael Oren, and top officials in the Prime Minister’s Office. Delegates to the conference also included MP Anthony Housefather of Canada, Marc Loewenstein of Belgium and Daniel Farcas of Chile.

The ICJP has operated under the auspices of the World Jewish Congress since 2006

Cotler is the chairman of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, an Emeritus professor of Law at McGill University, former Member of Parliament, former minister of justice and attorney general of Canada, and an international human rights lawyer.

As minister of justice and attorney general, Irwin Cotler initiated the first-ever comprehensive reform of the Supreme Court appointment process and helped make it the most gender-representative Supreme Court in the world. He appointed the first-ever aboriginal and visible minority justices to the Ontario Court of Appeal; initiated the first-ever law on human trafficking; crafted the Civil Marriage Act, the first-ever legislation to grant marriage equality to gays and lesbians; and issued Canada’s first National Justice Initiative Against Racism and Hate.

A leading parliamentarian on the global stage, he has been chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Group for Human Rights in Iran, chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Group of Justice for Sergei Magnitsky, Chair of the All-Party Save Darfur Parliamentary Coalition; Chair of the Canadian Section of the Parliamentarians for Global Action and member of its international council.

An international human rights lawyer, Professor Cotler has served as counsel to prisoners of conscience including Andrei Sakharov and Nathan Sharanksy (former Soviet Union), Nelson Mandela (South Africa) and he was Chair of the International Commission of Inquiry into the fate of Raoul Wallenberg.

He was elected 2014 Canadian Parliamentarian of the Year by his colleagues and recently received the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Inaugural Human Rights Award.
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