About the IBAHRI

The International Bar Association's Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), an autonomous and financially independent entity, works with the global legal community to promote and protect human rights and the independence of the legal profession worldwide.

Find out more about the IBAHRI’s work in this short video.

What we do

We provide human rights training and technical assistance for legal practitioners and institutions, building their capacity to effectively promote and protect human rights under a just rule of law.

A leading institution in international fact-finding, we produce expert reports with key recommendations, delivering  timely and reliable information on human rights and the legal profession.

We support lawyers and judges who are arbitrarily harassed, intimidated or arrested through advocacy and trial observations.

A focus on pertinent human rights issues, including the abolition of the death penalty, poverty, and sexual orientation forms the basis of targeted capacity building and advocacy projects.

Why we are here

Lawyers and judges play a fundamental role in facilitating access to justice, ensuring accountability of the state and upholding the rule of law. When the legal profession is not able to function independently or effectively, this gives rise to human rights violations, impunity and injustice. As part of the world's leading organisation of international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies, the IBAHRI is uniquely placed to build the capacities of the legal profession to promote and protect human rights and professional independence worldwide. The IBAHRI's objectives include:

  • The promotion, protection and enforcement of human rights under a just rule of law
  • The promotion and protection of the independence of the judiciary and of the legal profession worldwide
  • The adoption and implementation of standards and instruments regarding human rights accepted and enacted by the community of nations
  • The acquisition and dissemination of information concerning issues relating to human rights, judicial independence and the rule of law
  • The practical implementation of human rights and the rule of law worldwide such as through capacity building initiatives

History and constitution

Established in 1947, the International Bar Association (IBA) is the world’s leading international organisation of legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. The IBA influences the development of international law and shapes the future of the legal profession throughout the world. It has a membership of over 55,000 individual lawyers and 195 bar associations and law societies spanning all continents. Grouped into two divisions – the Legal Practice Division (LPD) and the Public and Professional Interest Division (PPID) – the IBA covers all practice areas and professional interests, providing members with access to leading experts and up-to-date information.

The IBA established its Human Rights Institute in 1995 under the honorary presidency of Nelson Mandela, to promote and protect human rights and the independence of the legal profession under a just rule of law. The IBAHRI is an independent entity within the Public and Professional Interest Division (PPID) of the IBA.   IBAHRI projects are funded by the generous support of its members and funding bodies.

Under the IBAHRI By-Laws, the Institute is governed by an independent council comprising: Co-Chairs; Vice-Chair; Secretary-Treasurer; 12 council members; and one representative from the LPD, the IBA Section on Public and Professional Interest, and the IBA Bar Issues Commission.