top of page

Equipping & Empowering Human Rights Litigators

USILD in collaboration with Orpe Human Rights Advocates promote programs that empower lawyers and defends the rights of victims of human rights violations. Programs promoted by USILD in collaboration with the Orpe Human Rights Advocates addresses the crucial part of the justice transformations needed or the purpose of effecting change in the systems of governance and engage rulers change their mode of ruling from autocratic system and embrace the path of democracy and rule of law.

USILD's approach is supported by the goal of engaging nations in the path of democracy by 2030's UN goal. According to the United Nations, more than four billion people live outside the protection of the law. Adding to this unjust and ongoing status quo are profound levels of income inequality and rising authoritarianism, deepening the marginalization of communities across the globe. The result is an urgent need to reimagine justice, to help nations build legal systems that work for everyone, driven by the voices of those who have been historically powerless. James Baldwin, an American writer once said that to “know how justice is administered in a country” one must go to the “unprotected” and listen to their stories to learn “not whether the country is just, but whether or not it has any love for justice, or any concept of it.”

USILD human rights advocates' empowerment program is field composed of human rights advocate practitioners, scholars, and education that strive for the empowerment of lawyers and advocates for the establishment of justice in a given nation. Usild in collaboration with Orpe Human Rights Advocates' activities, conduct studies and listens to the stories of communities affected by injustice, and to reverse the tide by strengthening the capacity of lawyers and marginalized individuals to use the law to challenge the unconstitutionalities.

USILD approach conforms with the UN General Assembly's resolution adopted on September 2015 regarding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), through which the global community pledged to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development and ensure access to justice for all by 2030 (Goal 16). The 2030 Agenda acknowledges the significance of rule of law to sustainable development in several distinct ways: by reducing crime and violence, advancing equality and eradicating discrimination, strengthening laws and institutions at the national and international levels, and empowering people. 

We all know that, when rights-holders directly engage institutions affecting their lives, they demand that systems become more accessible and responsive to the daily challenges of the people. And when the laws or legal systems actively harm marginalized and oppressed peoples, the need for human rights lawyers' interventions became evident. At that point, human rights advocates embrace this reality by becoming reliable partners to movements led by the communities experiencing grave rights deprivations. Accordingly, where constitutional rights of citizens are being impaired, has a crucial role in establishing the unconstitutionalities, and ask the relevant court to strike down the legislation that impairing the rights of citizens. 

“Human rights lawyer” can be defined as any lawyer engaged in the provision of legal services to victims of human rights violations, regardless of membership in a professional association. These lawyers carry out a professional defense of human rights. Their function deserves protection as the right to legal assistance is a key principle of the right to a fair trial. These protections are stated in the following way:

  • To guarantee fair trial rights, governments must avoid interfering with the rights of lawyers to represent the clients of their choice and to work on the issues they choose. They must ensure human rights lawyers have the same level of access and possibility to communicate in confidence with their clients as any other lawyers.

  • The independence of professional organizations of lawyers must be respected, and disbarment must only be an administrative measure aimed at ensuring professional and ethical standards of the profession, not a punishment dispensed by the government. States must refrain from interfering with the operation of professional organizations of lawyers.

  • Leaders in all sectors of society must acknowledge publicly the important and legitimate role of human rights lawyers in the promotion of human rights, democracy and rule of law, and avoid stigmatization of human rights lawyers. States should take extra measures to ensure the protection of lawyers and judges who are at greater risk due to their dual role: as legal professionals and as human rights defenders.

bottom of page