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Catherine Morris

Executive Director, Lawyers' Rights Watch Canada

Catherine Morris is the Executive Director of Lawyers' Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), a committee of Canadian lawyers who promote human rights and the rule of law. LRWC advocates on behalf of human rights defenders in danger around the world. Morris is also the managing director of Peacemakers Trust, a Canadian non-profit for education and research on peacebuilding, including international human rights.


Democracy continues to be undermined in Cambodia

IAPS Dialogue, Institute of Asia and Pacific Studies, University of Nottingham,, August 9, 2017Online


Cambodia’s elections are always a bell-weather of peace and human rights in the country.

In the 4 June 2017 local commune elections, seven million people, more than 85 per cent of registered voters, peacefully turned out to elect 12,000 representatives in 1,646 communities around the country. Observers found some noticeable irregularities, but in comparison with past elections, the polls went ‘smoothly.’ Yet the commune elections were no harbinger of peace. For months during the run up to the elections, long-ruling Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) demonstrated a long-familiar pattern of violent threats and deployed another potent weapon – the law.

Canada's Forgotten Child Hostages

The Toronto Star, May 16, 2017Online


Joshua Boyle and Caitlan Coleman were travelling in Central Asia when they were captured in Afghanistan in 2012. Their innocence, youth and citizenship in Canada and the U.S. made them ideal hostages. They — and their children — are innocent of wrongdoing or involvement in Afghanistan’s conflicts. This family is no less entitled to protection against human rights violations than diplomats, aid workers or journalists. Instead of inspiring public outrage at their captivity, they have been forgotten.

See publications at

The Impact of Mediation on the Culture of Disputing in Canada: Law Schools, Lawyers and Laws

Published by New York: Wolters Kluwer Law & Business, and Hong Kong: CCH Hong Kong, 2013

Chapter 3, in Mediation in Asia Pacific: A Practical Guide to Mediation and its Impacts on Legal systems, edited by Wang Guiguo and Yang Fan.

Justice Inverted: Law and human rights in Cambodia

by Catherine Morris

Published by Routledge, 2017

September 13, 2016

Contemporary Cambodia remains haunted by Pol Pot’s 1975-1979 Khmer Rouge regime, which eradicated Cambodia’s traditional dispute resolution processes and colonial civil law system. The subsequent decade of Vietnam-sponsored rule in the 1980s entrenched centralized socialist governance and legal institutions that have stubbornly challenged reform efforts of the 1990s and onwards. Cambodian and foreign observers alike often mutter the French adage: “plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.” This chapter considers two decades of international human rights promotion and liberal legal development efforts in Cambodia with emphasis on courts, lawyers, and human rights defenders. Chapter 2 in The Handbook of Contemporary Cambodia, 1st Edition, edited by Katherine Brickell, Simon Springer, Routledge 2017.



Catherine Morris has worked in the field of international human rights for two decades, and in the field of peace and conflict studies and practice since 1983, including founding, leadership, policy, research, and teaching in academic institutions and civil society organizations in Canada, Thailand, Cambodia, Rwanda, Bolivia, and Europe. She is an Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Law at the University of Victoria.


Victoria Bar Association Volunteer Award | Professional

Catherine Morris received the Victoria Bar Association Volunteer Award in 2015 for her work on the rule of law through promotion of international human rights.

Additional Titles and Affiliations

UN Liaison, Lawyers' Rights Watch Canada

Director Peacemakers Trust

Adjunct Professor Faculty of Law University of Victoria

Past Talks

Atrocity Crimes in Myanmar: Accountability and Responsibility

The Rohingya Crisis - Realities, Reflections, Implications & Imperatives

International Law Section of the BC Branch of the Canadian Bar Association, Vancouver, March 8, 2019

Truth, Lies, Reconciliation, and the Church in North America

Reconciliation: Christian Perspectives – Interdisciplinary Approaches

Bergneustadt, Germany, August 31, 2017

Human Rights in Transition in Thailand: Coups, Constitutions and Cases

Centre for Asia Pacific Initiatives (CAPI) Round Table

University of Victoria, Canada, November 8, 2016

The Impact of Mediation on the Culture of Disputing in Canada

Event sponsored by the ADR section of the BC Branch of the Canadian Bar Association

Victoria, BC, April 2, 2014

International Human Rights and Access to Justice: International Right to Legal Aid

Access to Justice: Community Conference

Victoria, BC, March 7, 2014

Corporate Land-Grabbing & Fabricated Charges in Cambodia: What Can Canadian Lawyers Do?

Presentation to the Canadian Bar Association International Assistance Section

Vancouver, BC, February 12, 2014

Canada’s International Human Rights Obligations and Bill C-51

Panel presentation sponsored by the Canadian International Council

Victoria, BC, March 31, 2015


  • International human rights
  • Civil Liberties
  • Religion conflict and peacemaking
  • Reconciliation
  • Peace and Conflict
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Conflict Transformation
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Cambodia


  • University of British Columbia
    LL.M., 2001
  • University of Alberta
    J.D., 1978

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