IBAHRI Annual Review 2015

‘In a sense, this work will never end. To establish the rule of law, to establish the protection of human rights is continual.’
– Hans Corell, IBAHRI Co-Chair

As the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) launches its Annual Review 2015, it marks an important milestone in the institute’s life; its 20th year. Established in 1995, the IBAHRI’s work has grown significantly, as it continues to defend fundamental human rights through the promotion, protection and training of the global legal community. Lawyers are at the forefront of human rights protection and in 2015 alone, the IBAHRI worked in 15 jurisdictions to support and strengthen the profession’s ability to defend these same principles.

In the Americas, the IBAHRI trained two hundred legal professionals on torture prevention in both Mexico and Brazil, as part of ongoing capacity-building programmes. In Brazil, the IBAHRI also launched a new torture prevention toolkit for prison monitors, based on its successful manual ‘Protecting Brazilians from Torture’. Other work included the IBAHRI’s trial observation of the Judge Maria Lourdes Afiuni case, in Venezuela, where the IBAHRI now stands as the only international observer at the trial.

In Asia Pacific, the IBAHRI’s most prominent work has been its continual support of the Independent Lawyers’ Association of Myanmar (ILAM). Having provided various trainings throughout the year, the ILAM finally held its first elections in order to allow the association to operate as a fully functioning body, in the coming year. Similar work in Timor-Leste, led the IBAHRI to set up a legal specialist presence to aid in the establishment of a national bar association. A fact-finding mission conducted to Cambodia found the justice system to be overrun by corruption – both financial and political.
In Europe and Central Asia a trend in weakening human rights protection has led the IBAHRI to intervene in a number of ways, across the region. Having spoken out against the United Kingdom’s plans to scrap the Human Rights Act, the IBAHRI also trained young Azerbaijani lawyers in human rights litigation, in a bid to inspire and capacitate a new generation of human rights lawyers. In a follow-up mission to Hungary, the IBAHRI found the rule of law situation to still be under threat despite the recommendations it made in 2012.
Lastly, in the regions of MENA and Sub-Saharan Africa the IBAHRI carried out two successful capacity-building programmes, in Tunisia and Sudan. In Tunisia, a country going through significant transition, the IBAHRI has trained over 1600 judges and prosecutors since 2012. In Sudan, a ‘training-of-trainers’ approach allowed 19 Darfuri lawyers to train a further 180 displaced men and women, and 59 paralegals, in women’s rights.