NEWS

LWOB UNITED NATIONS WORKSHOP

This year a team of lawyers from Gibson Dunn conducted LWOB’s UNCSW workshop. The lawyers, who represented the firm’s offices in New York and California, have worked for the last two years with LWOB exploring and creating innovative and interactive ways to advance rule of law. The standing room only event took place at the United Nations on 18 March 2015.
It represented the second consecutive collaboration between LWOB and Gibson Dunn at the UN. In Spring 2014, LWOB hosted a UN approved workshop that launched LWOB’s newest educational activity, an educational human trafficking board “game” entitled: FIND ME! at the 58th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 57) in March 2014. Since that time, LWOB has professionally produced the educational activity and a recent grant will fund its mass production and distribution in 2015.

Parties interested in purchasing one or more sets of the Human Trafficking educational board game are encouraged to email info@lwob.org with “TIP Board Game” in the subject line.

This year’s program will again featured a team of pro bono lawyers focused on the work of lawyers serving pro bono in rule of law programs that advance the Beijing Agenda, as well as what initiatives will take that agenda forward for the next twenty years.

Look for LWOB on the UN Calendar of Events for CSW in 2016 and UNDPI.

IN DEVELOPMENT: RECORD IT!

Click HERE to watch a video on the Record !t program.

Record !t Overview
RECORD IT! is an educational game designed to teach the importance of civil documentation particularly to women and children living in developing regions. As players navigate the game, they experience the benefits and lost opportunities that documentation, or lack of it, generate. In a game that takes the players through life’s ordinary events the players quickly recognize how obtaining such things as birth or marriage certificates can create legal protections or provide access to economic and educational opportunities.

Each player (or team of players) assumes a character profile to help inform the decisions that they make as they make their way around the board. The goal for each player is to obtain the documents, degrees, and properties necessary to satisfy the needs and ambitions of their character.  In most instances registration or documentation of important key life events affords opportunities or creates economic wherewithal to pursue opportunities or secure rights in a court of law.
The Objective
Our research indicates that individuals located in the developing regions largely lack information as to why they have been deprived of opportunities or how to prevent deprivation of some economic and legal rights and opportunities. The creators of the “game” wanted to generate the sense of gain and loss, in a real way, to drive home the message that civil documentation is critical and the benefits associated with birth registration, marriage certificates and/or property ownership are real and attainable.
The game has been extensively tested in the field for the last two years through pro bono volunteers and collaborating partners in Tanzania, Uganda, Namibia, Rwanda, Kenya and Liberia. It has been tested in large and small youth and adult groups composed of women from around the world.  The feedback process has informed the several revisions of the game to achieve the current product which is now ready for mass production and distribution.  Currently LWOB is in the process of recruiting pro bono teams to create a trainers manual to accompany the game. The project has and will continue to be informed by several white papers and research LWOB has commissioned on the topic of inheritance/succession and land tenure by  the following law firms:  McDermott Will & Emery (Tanzania and Kenya), Shearman & Sterling (Rwanda), Freshfields (Mozambique), Namibia (Jones Day) and Uganda (White & Case). LWOB expects to publish a work on the topic in late 2014.Making this Goal a Reality$10,000 is the estimated cost of creating prototypes and then putting the finish product into mass production. Existing LWOB supporters or individuals interested in supporting this project, please direct an email to LWOB at info@lwob.org (put Record !t in the subject line), telephone LWOB (+860.541.2288) or to make a general donation to support production of this educational material:  Click Here .

LWOB Publishes Second Bi-Lingual Edition of Proyecto Electoral: La Hoja de Ruta

Lawyers Without Borders announces the publication of the second bi-lingual edition of its book Proyecto Electoral: La Hoja de Ruta (The Electoral Project: A Roadmap to Free and Fair Elections). The book is a “roadmap” that identifies obstacles which prevent multi-party free and fair elections in Cuba. The analysis is informed by internationally-recognized electoral standards and integrates international norms and best practices, including national and local history, custom and nuance. The book is available online at: www.proyectoelectoral.es
Methodology and Approach

The book, self-published by LWOB, is authored by a team which included scholars and lawyers from Belgium, Argentina, Chile, United Kingdom, Italy, France, United States, and Cuba. Its authors worked hard to ensure that it not be viewed as a captive of the political values or biases of any one nation or global region. It is anchored by a neutral orientation while at the same time being firmly planted in the Latin American and Cuban historical experience. In several respects, notably out-of-country voting entitlements and mechanisms, it is guided by legal and historical data derived from the experience political transitions over the last quarter century.

The Proyecto Electoral analysis is intended to be used as a resource and a tool for lawyers, legislators and citizens. Like an actual roadmap, in which sometimes there are different routes to reach a single destination, the analysis supplies a guide for those who seek legal change.

LWOB Assessment Team returns from Uganda

An experienced Assessment Team has just returned from Uganda after meeting with lawyers, law schools, courts, UN Staff and NGOs in Uganda’s capital and surrounding rural areas. The visit, long in the planning, was the first step towards cementing local relationships and collaborations.

It provided data and information that will inform planned large scale Trial Advocacy Training and Community Outreach programming in development for launch late in 2009. LWOB in the process of developing pilot programming designed for introduction in rural areas and villages. Our visit to areas outside Kampala confirmed the interest and needs in those areas for Rule of Law assistance, particularly in the criminal and inheritance/land ownership legal sectors.

LWOB collaborates with and adapts the NITA (National Institute of Trial Advocacy) “Learning by Doing” method to its own signature trial advocacy training model. The model has been exceptionally well received by hundreds of lawyers and judges in Africa who have been trained using the LWOB method.

Currently LWOB projects are in the planning stages or ongoing in Rwanda, Kenya, Namibia, Mozambique, Uganda, Liberia, Ethiopia and The Americas.

LWOB and RWN collaborate on grant award addressing Inheritance Rights Issues

LWOB working in collaboration with RWN, Rwanda Women’s Rights Network has implemented the “WORTHWHILE” program model: Womens Rights To Have Worth, Homes and Inherit Land and Estates in Rwanda. The program, launched in 2008 in Kigali, involves work on mechanisms and field study designed to balance and integrate customary practices with existing law in the field of inheritance and succession rights.

LWOB’s has overseen research on this topic in Rwanda since 2006 with Shearman & Sterling, LLP. LWOB is engaged on the same topic with the New York and London offices of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, LLP in Mozambique. Other firms which have supported LWOB’s work in the field of Inheritance Rights with research include White & Case, LLP (Uganda) and McDermott Will & Emery, LLP (Tanzania and Kenya) and Jones Day LLP (Namibia). [2008-2010]

Postscript: This work is ongoing and currently 2008 research is in the process of being updated by the firms mentioned in this article, to incorporate newly passed laws in the regions first researched in 2006-2008.

Second Annual Gender Based Violence (GBV) Trial Advocacy Training Program

On Saturday August 16th (2008) LWOB completed its second annual Gender Based Violence (GBV) trial advocacy training program and Magistrate Symposium in Nairobi, Kenya. This was the second annual Gender Based Violence trial advocacy training developed 2007 in collaboration with NITA. This year represents an even broader based collaboration with support from several private and quasi governmental organization including USAid and World Bank as well as lawyers whose pro bono contributions and costs have been donated or underwritten by NITA, White & Case, LLP, Robins, Kaplan, Miller, & Ciresi LLP and Freshfields Bruckhaus and Deringer, LLP.

This program, developed under the leadership of experienced LWOB-NITA lawyers and judges together with lawyers at FIDA-Kenya, is focused on trial advocacy skills in a domestic violence context. Included in the training were law students, lawyers and prosecutors with a special one day session devoted to Magistrates and Kenya’s new Sexual Offences Act. This year’s program had special focus on the role of the child in the trial as victim and witness and the impact of Kenya’s relatively new Sexual Violence laws on trial practice. A group of over 65 lawyers, students and magistrates participated in the two programs which were led by U.S. Circuit Judge Judge Ann C. Williams. The logistics and roll out of LWOB’s Kenya trainings are managed by lawyers from the Paris, London and New York offices of White & Case, LLP working in a close collaborative relationship with LWOB.

LWOB Staff head to Kenya

LWOB’s efforts and work in the Child Inheritance Rights arena over the last several years is beginning to gain attention in the international community. LWOB has fielded several project proposals and a variety of NGO’s working in Africa have joined the conversation with LWOB about women and children, their rights to inherit family property, reconciliation of customary law with developments in national legal inheritance and land ownership frameworks.

This week LWOB was awarded a stipend covering its costs to travel to Kenya and participate in a workshop of regional NGO’s to collaborate, share findings and mechanisms being developed to address the problem.

The prevalence of HIV AIDS throughout the world and its impact on children and their ability to retain their homes is finally reaching the global community’s attention. LWOB, through the generous efforts of lawyers in USA and UK, is among one of the few legal groups with significant research on the topic. For some time now, LWOB has been poised to launch legally and testamentarily oriented mechanisms aimed to keep children in their family homes and out of orphanages.

The two regions where LWOB is currently focused are Mozambique and Rwanda. Efforts are well underway to fund projects which would train trainers, in-country to begin reaching deep into rural communities with educational programming that targets women and children at risk.

Individuals or corporations interested in contributing to LWOB’s CHIRP Project (Child Inheritance Rights Program) are encouraged to contact Flavia Trevisani at LWOB headquarters.

LWOB Joins Nairobi Workshop

In late March of 2008 LWOB along with several other African NGO’s was invited to Nairobi Kenya to participate in a week long workshop exploring mechanisms, best practices and unique initiatives targeting the customary and legal obstacles affecting inheritance rights and land ownership rights of women and children throughout Africa.
LWOB has had lawyers working on these issues for the last several years and the workshop provided an ideal opportunity to work with in-country local organizations on concrete ways to tackle the problem.

Representatives from thirty NGO’s from 8 countries in Africa attended the workshop whose goal was to educate the NGOs on small grant programs designed to promote work on the critical topic and to identify and share the several different mechanisms proposed by NGO’s focused on inheritance and land ownership legal issues. During the week long sessions the groups in attendance shared their program models, objectives, goals and aspirations. Flavia Trevisani, LWOB’s representative from Hartford who attended the event, presented Lawyers Without Borders CHIRP and WORTHWHILE models.

As a result of LWOB’s participation in the workshop, a formal partnering was formed between LWOB and a Kigali based NGO to partner on a year long joint program proposal implementing LWOB”s “CHIRP” (Child Inheritance Rights Project) and “WORTHWHILE” (Women’s Rights To Have Worth, Homes and Inherit Land and Estates) in Rwanda.

While in Nairobi our representative was able to meet with other international aid actors whose work dovetails with LWOB Kenya gender based rule of law programming involving migration and refugee women and girls. Talks have taken place with UNHCR relating to cooperation and collaboration to deliver the LWOB Access to Justice Program for Women and Girls focusing primarily on refugees in the region. Ms. Trevisani also met with our partners at FIDA who are involved with planning and launch of LWOB’s second annual STTAT Program (Support Through Trial Advocacy Training) on domestic violence to take place in Nairobi August 9th through the 16th. LWOB will be fielding a team of fourteen lawyers to Kenya this summer, thanks to a broad funding coalition, for the week long domestic violence trial training of fifty (50) Kenyan lawyers using the NITA “learn by doing” trial advocacy training model.

LWOB Hosts Panel at UN CSW Special Session

LWOB Panel at the CSW event was by all accounts a huge success. The panel was conducted before a standing room only crowd that poured out the door. The 80-100 indivudals consisting primarlily of men and women lawyers, represented countries throughout the world–including regions where LWOB has established itself as a collaborative partner in Rule of Law development work.

Our special thanks to Attorney Sophia Georgiou, panel moderator and organizer and to lawyers from White & Case and Shearman & Sterling who helped LWOB achieve another milestone with this year’s CSW Panel/Workshop.

Plans have already launched for next year’s program. Lawyers interested in joining the group in charge of recruitment of the panel, materials, supporting donations and planning phase are encouraged to contact LWOB at its headquarters in Hartford, Connecticut.

Lawyers Without Borders Calls For Pakistan Lawyers Release

LWOB

LWOB Calls For Pakistan Lawyers Release

HARTFORD, CT  (November 7, 2007) – Lawyers Without Borders (LWOB)  called for the release of all lawyers and members of the Judiciary  arrested or detained  by the Pakistani authorities.   Pakistan state television reported that more than 500 lawyers and human rights activists have been arrested. To date international media report that several hundred lawyers across the country, including virtually all leading lawyers associated with the movement for judicial independence have been arrested or detained. Included in the round-up of prominent legal figures was the Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, who has been fired and is now under house arrest.

Lawyers without Borders, has identified those arrested and detained members of the legal profession and judiciary in Pakistan as Lawyers At Risk that is, lawyers who are targeted and persecuted for their support of transparency and rule of law.  Lawyers, and their ability to publicly and peacefully stand for protecting the integrity of legal process, are crucial to the survival and strength of core values that underlie rule of law throughout the world. When they find themselves targeted for support of those core values, the democratic foundation of the system prosecuting them is itself at risk. This is the harbinger of loss of those key freedoms treasured by lawyers everywhere and  their preservation is essential to the future well being of the people of Pakistan. said LWOB founder, Christina Storm.

Storm stated, If, as the President says in his Proclamation,  he is truly committed to the rule of law, LWOB   calls upon him and  the Government to immediately suspend preventive detention orders issued against lawyers, reinstate the dismissed Chief Justice and restore the constitution.

Lawyers Without Borders urges the Government to address this crisis by engaging in a serious and constructive dialogue with its nations lawyers and judiciary. That conversation should address the underlying causes of the crisis and work to  restore the fundamental democratic principle pivotal for the rule of law in Pakistan — the independence of the judiciary. Such an approach is in the national interests of Pakistan and need not compromise its unique needs in the national security arena.

About Lawyers Without Borders

Founded in 2000, LWOB is a U.S.-based international non-profit dedicated to preserving  the integrity of  legal process through training, capacity building, neutral observation, mediation and other dispute resolution mechanisms that support and promote transparency and rule of law. One core value of Lawyers Without Borders is the preservation of the integrity of legal process particularly when threatened by pre-textual arrests, detentions and criminal prosecution against lawyers and judges who find themselves targeted as criminals as a result of their  public and  peaceful advocacy of rule of law. Our website