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ABA Center for Global Programs Annual Report 2023

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The American Bar Association Center for Global Programs (ABA CGP) is pleased to launch its 2023 Annual Report—covering a breadth of programmatic work from around the world between the ABA Center for Human Rights (CHR) and the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ROLI). In 2023, ABA CGP facilitated 84 programs in 62 countries, with a combined estimated funding of $59 million in international development grants primarily funded by the U.S. Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development. Our work is grounded in the belief that promoting the rule of law and advocating for human rights is the most effective long-term antidote to the most pressing problems facing the world today, including rising authoritarianism, poverty, conflict, endemic corruption, and disregard for human rights.

Our 2023 Annual Report explores CHR’s work enforcing labor laws and monitoring trials of human rights defenders, journalists, and vulnerable populations; and ROLI’s work providing legal aid to indigenous and vulnerable communities; reviewing and providing recommendations to governments on laws geared towards anti-money laundering, women’s rights protections, and anti-trafficking in persons; and building the capacities of law students through mock trial competitions and bar exams. To bolster the continued learning and impact of our work, CGP released over 30 publications on human rights cases, freedom of expression, and gender and social inclusion, among others; as well as over 60 blogs and articles showcasing programmatic activities and success stories.

Comprised of the Center for Human Rights (CHR), Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI), and the ABA Representatives and Observers to the United Nations (UNR), CGP was established in 2018 as part of the ABA’s efforts to focus the organization’s international work supporting the Association’s Goal IV: Advancing the Rule of Law. The ABA’s work to advance the rule of law and defend human rights started over three decades ago with the launch of the ABA Central and East European Law Initiative (CEELI). ABA ROLI is the global successor to CEELI (formed in 1990), UNR was formed in 1997, and CHR was established in 2001. These entities remain the primary vehicles for the ABA’s Goal IV international programming.

ABA CGP has more than 500 professional staff working in the United States and abroad, including a cadre of short- and long-term expatriate volunteers who, since the 1990s inception, have contributed more than $350 million in pro bono technical legal assistance. We are proud of the continued dedication of our staff in Washington, DC and around the world towards advancing the rule of law, advocating for human rights, bridging access to justice gaps, and facilitating people-centered justice; where we can make a lasting impact.