Request Assistance/Refer a Case

The ABA Center for Human Rights is currently accepting requests for assistance from human rights defenders seeking pro bono legal advice.  We also welcome referrals from organizations and individuals who are aware of human rights defenders who need assistance.

  • Who:  Anyone who advocates for the protection of human rights, including attorneys, journalists, labor leaders and environmental activists, and is the subject of retaliation for his/her efforts, may request assistance. 
  • What:  The Justice Defenders Program provides a range of assistance, including litigation advice, legal research and drafting, trial observation, or advocacy campaigns. We identify experienced attorneys with relevant regional and linguistic expertise to support local counsel.  We provide assistance in a range of circumstances, including helping defenders charged with crimes in retaliation for their advocacy efforts or organizations that are not allowed to register. 
  • When:  We can provide assistance at any stage of the legal proceedings, whether during the trial or appeal.  We also conduct advocacy campaigns on behalf of those whose trial is complete.
  • Where:  The program is active around the world.  We help with litigation in national courts and in regional human rights courts.
  • Why:  The Center for Human Rights is committed to promoting the just rule of law around the world.  Without human rights defenders to hold governments and non-state actors accountable for violations, the rule of law cannot prevail.  The Justice Defenders Program supports the work of human rights defenders by advocating for their fundamental rights, including access to justice, fair trial standards, and respect for freedom of association and expression.

You can request assistance or make a referral by calling (202) 662-1743, emailing justicedefenders@americanbar.org, or filling out this questionnaire. The more detailed and relevant information that you provide, the better able the Justice Defenders Program is to help.

We emphasize that your identity and personal information will remain confidential, and you have the option of remaining anonymous when contacting us.  We also ensure that our work on behalf of human rights defenders anywhere in the world is coordinated by the American Bar Association, and done in strict accordance with its internal policy and the rules of professional ethics that govern lawyers.

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