ACCESS TO JUSTICE
Access to justice is a cornerstone of the human rights work at the International Institute on Race, Equality, and Human Rights and of the protection of human rights everywhere. At Race & Equality, supporting our civil society partners to ensure access to justice in the face of human rights violations is a three-fold effort:
As a human rights capacity-building organization, we acknowledge our partner organizations’ diverse legal capacity. Thus, the first goal of Race & Equality’s Legal Program Officers is to strengthen that capacity so that civil society can more effectively utilize the legal protections available to them through human rights protection mechanisms at the United Nations and Organization of American States. Through specialized trainings provided to human rights defenders and legal advocates, Race & Equality offers technical support so that our partners can develop their legal advocacy skills, making them stronger advocates for themselves and their constituents.
We also encourage human rights defenders to work in regional networks to document and denounce similar discrimination and human rights violation patterns that are negatively impacting the Latin America and Caribbean region. This work is particularly important as we support our partners in their legal advocacy efforts before international and regional protection systems, especially in the preparation of human rights reports.
EMERGENCY LEGAL RESPONSE
When Race & Equality’s partners face urgent security situations in which their fundamental rights are being violated, our legal team steps in. If our partners are unable to prepare documentation to submit on their own to international human rights protection mechanisms, we take the lead to ensure timely filing of requests for protective orders and intervention from the UN or the OAS. In this way, Race & Equality supports our partners in denouncing the injustices being perpetrated against them and raise the alert for the international community about what is happening.
Lastly, in coordination with our civil society partners and as part of Race & Equality’s goal to support their work to effect long-term, sustainable, and structural changes that will result in greater human rights protections, we engage in strategic litigation. Cases are carefully selected and documented to be submitted as petitions before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the United Nations Special Procedures Branch, or United Nations Treaty Bodies.
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