Noted international law scholar and human rights practitioner to give Osgoode lecture

NYU Prof Philip Alston to speak on the role of Human Rights Watch in responding to the rise of neoliberal economic policies and the global inequality these produce

TORONTO, March 15, 2021 – Philip Alston, John Norton Pomeroy Professor of Law at New York University Law School and UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, will give the annual ‘Or ‘Emet Lecture at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School on Friday, March 26, 2021 from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. EST on Zoom. The topic of his address will be “Neoliberalism and Human Rights: The Role of Human Rights Watch.”


Alston was UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions (2004-10), Chairperson of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1991-98), Independent Expert on reform of the UN human rights treaty body system (1989-97), Special Advisor to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Millennium Development Goals (2004-07), a member of the Security Council Commission of Inquiry on the Central African Republic, and he participated in the Independent International Commission on Kyrgyzstan.

One of the most consistent and telling lines of criticism of the international human rights movement in recent years is that it has had all too little to say in response to the rise of neoliberal economic policies, especially as inequality has grown dramatically. While states and international organizations have been key players in shaping this response, non-governmental organizations have also played a leading role. This lecture considers the contribution made by Human Rights Watch, a successful and influential organization whose policies have been the subject of little scholarly analysis.

The ‘Or ‘Emet Lecture is presented annually by Osgoode’s Jack & Mae Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime and Security, with the assistance of the ‘Or ‘Emet Fund. The Fund, which was established in 1976, seeks to promote through public discussion, research and scholarly writing, public and professional appreciation of the significance of religion, ethics, culture and history in the development of the legal system. ‘Or ‘Emet means “the light of truth.”

About Osgoode Hall Law School

Osgoode Hall Law School of York University has a proud history of 132 years of leadership and innovation in legal education and legal scholarship. A total of about 900 students are enrolled in Osgoode’s three-year Juris Doctor (JD) Program as well as joint and combined programs. The school’s Graduate Program in Law is also the largest in the country and one of the most highly regarded in North America. In addition, Osgoode Professional Development, which operates out of Osgoode’s facility in downtown Toronto, offers both degree and non-degree programming for Canadian and international lawyers, non-law professionals, firms and organizations. Osgoode has an internationally renowned faculty of 60 full-time professors, and more than 100 adjunct professors. Our respected community of more than 18,000 alumni are leaders in the legal profession and in many other fields in Canada and across the globe.

 About York University

York University is a modern, multi-campus, urban university located in Toronto, Ontario. Backed by a diverse group of students, faculty, staff, alumni and partners, we bring a uniquely global perspective to help solve societal challenges, drive positive change and prepare our students for success. York’s fully bilingual Glendon Campus is home to Southern Ontario’s Centre of Excellence for French Language and Bilingual Postsecondary Education. York’s campuses in Costa Rica and India offer students exceptional transnational learning opportunities and innovative programs. Together, we can make things right for our communities, our planet, and our future.

Media Contacts:

Virginia Corner, Communications Manager, Osgoode Hall Law School of York University, 416-736-5820,

Gloria Suhasini, York University Media Relations, 416-736-2100 ext. 22094,