Director of Human Rights
The Director of Human Rights is responsible to the Commission for the administration of the Yukon Human Rights Act, and for ensuring that complaints are dealt with in accordance with the Act.
Birju Dattani – Director
Originally from Calgary, Alberta, Birju has extensive academic and practical experience in the field of human rights. He was awarded an LL.B. (with Honours) by the University of Wales in Aberstwyth, a Post Graduate Diploma in Professional Legal Skills by the City University of London and an LL.M. in Public International Law by the London School of Economics and Political Science. In addition, Birju has spent time studying at the Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn, Cambridge University and the School of Oriental and African Studies.
Birju’s previous professional experience include serving as Assistant Regional Director with Alberta Human Rights Commission and Teaching Fellow in the faculty of law at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. The son of refugees from Uganda, Birju has a life-long commitment to advancing the cause of human rights and is pleased to have the opportunity to support the Commission in doing so.
The Legal Counsel analyzes inquiries and complaints, provides legal advice and ongoing training to Commission Members and staff, and represents the Commission before the Yukon Human Rights Board of Adjudication when required. They also facilitate settlement discussions between Complainants and Respondents, and work on special projects including public education and research.
Alexander Dezan – Legal Counsel
After joining the Commission as a Human Rights Officer in 2019, Alexander Dezan began as Legal Counsel in January 2021. Prior to this he practiced labour and employment law at a large regional firm in Ottawa, Ontario. Alexander is originally from rural Quebec, and holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Ottawa, a Master of Arts degree from the Memorial University of Newfoundland, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from McGill University.
The Operations Officer is responsible for supporting the Director and Legal Counsel with active human rights complaints and is often the first point of contact for members of the public who reach out to the Commission. In addition to providing administrative support to staff, they also work on special projects, such as A Yukon Without Sexual Harassment, and assist in the development of educational materials.
Human Rights Officers
Human Rights Officers are responsible for the investigation of complaints accepted by the Yukon Human Rights Commission. They may also provide legal information to members of the public, and present at workshops or training events.
Rights Promotion Coordinator
Rights Promotion Coordinator (RPC) is responsible for the development and delivery of the Commission’s rights promotion and research projects, as well as educational programming including public, legal, professional, youth, and stakeholder education and skills development. The RPC is responsible for working with other community partners to meet the goals and mandate of the Commission as set out in the Yukon Human Rights Act, with the specific duties of providing education, training, and ongoing resources for complainants, respondents, professionals working in the area of human rights law, and members of the public seeking information from the Commission.
Rights Promotion Assistant
The Rights Promotion Assistant is responsible for assisting the Rights Promotion Coordinator in the development and delivery of the Commission’s rights promotion and research projects as well as educational programming. They work to advance the public education and research role of the Yukon Human Rights Commission.
Interns and Partnerships
Human Rights Interns
The Commission regularly hosts paid Human Rights Intern positions for students and recent graduates. Generally, Human Rights Interns are law students or recent law school graduates, but the Commission has also partnered with other organizations such as universities and non-governmental organizations to host positions for students and graduates in other disciplines. For example, in 2015-2016, the Commission partnered with Journalists for Human Rights to provide two intern positions for emerging Indigenous journalists.
Human Rights Intern positions are periodically posted on our website. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions about student positions.
Pro Bono Students Canada
Pro Bono Students Canada (PBSC) was the first pro bono organization in the country and a nationally respected program that is actively supported by the bar, judiciary, and academy. PBSC was founded at the University of Toronto in 1996 and today operates in 22 law schools in Canada. Each year, PBSC harnesses the talent and drive of over 1500 law students across the country to provide legal services free of charge to low-income citizens and not-for-profit organizations.
Thank you to our amazing 2019-20 student teams from the University of Ottawa, the University of Victoria, the University of British Columbia, and McGill University. Please contact the Pro Bono Students Canada chapter at any law school in Canada if you have questions about how to apply to this program.
McGill International Human Rights Internships
The Commission regularly hosts one or two students from the McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism (CHRLP) each summer.
The International Human Rights Internships Program (IHRIP) is a fully credited course that allows students to earn six (6) credits toward the completion of the BCL/LLB degree. The Program interviews and selects law students for placements as interns with NGOS, courts, and public institutions for a period of 12 weeks over the summer. Partner organizations provide students with practical work experience in human rights investigation, monitoring, and reporting. The internships also provide exposure to the operation and implementation of human rights instruments and norms.
Please contact the McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism email@example.com if you have questions about how to apply to this program.