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Home News & Events Latest News 2019 Renowned advocate for survivors of sexual violence receives Law Society’s Human Rights Award

Renowned advocate for survivors of sexual violence receives Law Society’s Human Rights Award

February 28, 2019

Toronto, ON — Law Society Bencher and Human Rights Monitoring Group Chair Teresa Donnelly presented Dr. Fiona Sampson with a Human Rights Award at a special ceremony held in Toronto on February 27, 2019.

Established in 2013 and granted biennially, the Law Society of Ontario Human Rights Award recognizes outstanding contributions to the advancement of human rights and/or the promotion of the rule of law provincially, nationally or internationally.

“This award acknowledges advocacy for human rights and the rule of law over a long term or for a single, outstanding act of service,” Donnelly told those attending the ceremony. “Recipients of this award are agents of positive change who work tirelessly in the pursuit of justice alongside people in our society who experience persecution, oppression and human rights violations. This year’s recipient, Dr. Fiona Sampson, through a number of outstanding acts during her long career dedicated to service, exemplifies the foundation principles of this award.”

Bencher Teresa Donnelly (Chair of the Human Rights Monitoring Group), Dr. Fiona Sampson and Law Society Treasurer Malcolm Mercer.

Dr. Sampson is a highly respected and outstanding advocate for the rights of survivors of sexual violence in Canada and abroad. A human rights lawyer with a PhD in women’s equality law, she has dedicated her career to seeking justice for First Nations’ communities, refugees, persons with disabilities and victims of sexual violence.

She is the founder and CEO of the equality effect, a non-profit charity that uses international human rights law and creative legal advocacy projects to achieve systemic change. She has appeared numerous times before the Supreme Court of Canada representing various women’s NGOs in equality rights cases.

As CEO of the equality effect, Dr. Sampson led her team to the landmark victory in Kenya, in which the country’s High Court found the state’s failure to protect girls from sexual assault was unconstitutional and violated their human rights.

In recognition of her work, Dr. Sampson was appointed an Ashoka Fellow in 2013 and was named one of the 25 top most influential lawyers in Canada by Canadian Lawyer Magazine, as well as, top five on the World Stage in 2014. She was also named one of 50 “Global Heroes” working to end violence against children. She was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada in 2015 and received an honorary doctorate from Trent University in 2017, in recognition of her contribution to human rights law.

More biographical information is available online.

The Law Society regulates lawyers and paralegals in Ontario in the public interest. The Law Society has a mandate to protect the public interest, to maintain and advance the cause of justice and the rule of law, to facilitate access to justice for the people of Ontario and act in a timely, open and efficient manner.


Media Contact: Gelek Badheytsang, Communications Advisor, External Relations and Communications at or 416-947-5273.

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