By McGill Reporter Staff
The Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) has named Cindy Blackstock, from the School of Social Work, as one of the winners of the 2016 Human Rights Award. Established in 2013, the award recognizes outstanding contributions to the advancement of human rights and/or the promotion of the rule of law provincially, nationally or internationally. The other winner is Waleed Abu al-Khair, a prominent human rights lawyer and activist in Saudi Arabia.
“Dr. Blackstock has spent her career advocating for justice and promoting the rights of First Nations children and youth in this country. Mr. al-Khair has made extraordinary contributions to the promotion of democracy and the rule of law in Saudi Arabia – which have come at significant personal cost. The Law Society is proud to honour these two exceptional human rights advocates,” says LSUC Treasurer Paul Schabas.
Blackstock is a highly respected advocate for First Nations children and youth in Canada working to address systemic discrimination in the child welfare system. For more than 25 years, she has engaged in and promoted public education and key research on the issue. She is most well-known for her leadership in bringing a human rights complaint against the federal government, resulting in a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal’s landmark ruling earlier this year in which the Tribunal found that the Government of Canada “was guilty of systemic discrimination by underfunding child welfare for First Nations children on reserve.”
This fall, Blackstock, who is Executive Director of the First Nations and Family Caring Society, returned to McGill with a teaching position in the School of Social Work. In 2000, she earned a Master’s at the Faculty of Management.