Marking the 25th anniversary of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute

Marking the 25th anniversary of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute In a short film, the IBAHRI reflects on the nascent hope and promise towards the end of the 20th century and the start of the new millennium for a more just world. It then looks at the reality of today and the swift diminishing of that hope, brought about by reduced freedoms across the globe and a creeping resurgence of authoritarianism. – ‘The need now is for us to reassert the centrality of law and a respect for human rights.’

“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home -- so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. [...] Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world."

Eleanor Roosevelt
First Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights

‘Since the establishment of the IBA’s Human Rights Institute in 1995, under the honorary presidency of Nelson Mandela, it has been at the forefront of defending the rule of law and the independence of the legal profession worldwide. From establishing the first independent bar associations in Afghanistan and Myanmar, to establishing the first International Human Rights Fact-Finding guidelines, to establishing trial observations globally from Venezuela to Turkey, to training the legal profession in Latin America on torture prevention and the Syrian legal profession on accountability mechanisms, and, more recently, training the legal profession in Central Asia on how to protect themselves and other lawyers at risk. On International Human Rights Day, we celebrate the work done so far and note the renewed importance of the ongoing fight for human rights.’

Anne Ramberg Dr Jur hc
Co-Chair, International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute

‘With the most difficult of years drawing to a close, never has the tremendous work of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute been more important. As the 25th Anniversary of the IBAHRI is celebrated, we are reminded of its original goals to promote and uphold democratic values, the rule of law, freedom of expression, freedom from torture, liberty and human rights for all. On this Human Rights Day, as we commemorate the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, what better time to applaud the work of the IBAHRI and augment our commitment to its work for the betterment of our world.’

Dr Mark Ellis
Executive Director, International Bar Association

‘On this year’s Human Rights Day, we commemorate the 25th anniversary of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute. The work of the IBAHRI is only possible through the donations of IBA members and other supporters who share our values and appreciate our work. So, on this special day, I thank each and every person who has, and will, contribute to advancing our efforts. Seventy-two years after the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it remains vital for us to be diligent in safeguarding hard-won civil liberties. The Covid-19 pandemic has shown us all the importance of defending human rights as authoritarian governments have used the crisis as a pretext under which to restrict fundamental rights. Words are important for global human rights. But they are not enough. They must be matched with good deeds, such as giving practical support to the IBAHRI so it can discharge its vital functions. Donations matter.The work of the IBAHRI to promote and protect international human rights seems of greater importance now than it was when the Institute was first established 25 years ago. In recovery from the pandemic, the world must show renewed commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights.’

The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG
IBAHRI Co-Chair and former Justice of the High Court of Australia (1996 – 2006)