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June 07, 2023

Migration Judicial Log 2.0: A Transformative Tool to Democratize Legal Knowledge Beyond the Legal Profession

In today's interconnected world, migration has emerged as a pressing phenomenon that presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities to societies, economies, and host communities on a global scale. To effectively address the complex issues associated with human rights violations against migrants and refugees, access to legal resources is increasingly critical. One platform that aims to provide easy to access information and valuable analysis in this field is the Migration Judicial Log, developed by ABA ROLI's Colombia Project, Conectando Caminos por los Derechos (CCD). In this blog post, we will delve into the purpose, scope, and potential benefits of this innovative tool for users who are seeking to enhance their legal understanding of migration.

In November 2021, in partnership with Los Andes University's Center for Migration Studies, ABA ROLI launched the first phase of the Migration Judicial Log. The Log was designed as an innovative tool to identify relevant precedent cases produced to date in the context of migration. As the first of its kind in Colombia, the Log quickly became a key tool for advocacy and strategic litigation to defend the rights of migrants and refugees throughout the country. For more information about the phase one, read the blog titled, “Migration Judicial Log: Inputs for Advocacy and Strategic Litigation for the Migrant and Refugee Population in Colombia”.

Migration Judicial Log reports. Phase one developed by Los Andes University (left) and phase two developed by ICESI University (right).

Migration Judicial Log reports. Phase one developed by Los Andes University (left) and phase two developed by ICESI University (right).

Through the Migration Judicial Log, two reports were produced as Bitácora Jurisprudencial de la Migración: Para la defensa de los derechos humanos de la población migrante y refugiada en Colombia (English, Migration Jurisprudential Log: For the Defense of the Human Rights of the Migrant and Refugee Population in Colombia). The Phase one report was developed by Los Andes University and can be found here. The Phase two report was developed by ICESI University and can be found here.

Through practical workshops, the Log was widely distributed and made available to a range of stakeholders across the country, including public officials, policymakers, justice sector officials, civil society organizations, human rights defenders, law school faculties, legal clinics, and other actors in Colombia. With the guidance of ABA ROLI's strategic litigation expert, the Log served as an educational tool to address the most significant advancements in the protection of migrants' and refugees' rights. The beneficiaries of these workshops commented on its relevance in improving legal orientation and designing strategic litigation actions in response to human rights violations.

See Below

See Below

Left: ABA ROLI’s legal empowerment workshop with local authorities, civil society organizations and community leaders using the Migration Judicial Log. Cartagena, Colombia. November 2022.

Right: Migration Judicial Log used by local Ombudsman’s officer to provide legal assistance to migrants and refugees in vulnerable communities. Cúcuta, Colombia. February 2023.

Based on the overwhelmingly positive response, ABA ROLI committed to a second phase to further promote legal empowerment beyond the legal profession. While the first phase proved successful for advocacy and strategic litigation among lawyers, human rights defenders and migration experts, the second phase aimed to ensure the utilization of precedents by local community leaders in pursuing legal claims and remedies to address human rights violations. Thus, the Migration Judicial Log 2.0 was designed as a transformative tool to democratize legal knowledge among migrants, refugees, and vulnerable host communities.

In May 2023, ABA ROLI, in partnership with ICESI University's Public Affairs Legal Clinic (GAPI, the Spanish acronym), launched the Migration Judicial Log online platform. Known as Bitácora Migración, the platform is a comprehensive website dedicated to disseminating up-to-date information on relevant case law and judicial precedents in the immigration context. The platform's primary goal is to promote legal empowerment and foster the defense of human rights. Available in Spanish, the website offers a wide range of content designed to cater to legal professionals, human rights defenders, policymakers, researchers, and anyone interested in topics related to migration.

Edgar Antúnez, a migrant community leader, and Paula Cerón, the Coordinator of ICESI University's Public Affairs Legal Clinic, provide a comprehensive overview of the Migration Judicial Log platform.

Bitácora Migración distinguishes itself with its educational, user-friendly, and easily comprehensible content. Aligned with the core objective of democratizing legal knowledge, the virtual platform aims to reach a wider audience beyond the legal profession. The content both fosters a better understanding of judicial precedents, and sheds light on the steps that are necessary to protect and uphold the rights of migrant and refugee populations in Colombia. To achieve this, the platform compiles an array of accessible tools that systematically organize the most relevant justice content, including a curated collection of documents of interest.

The Log facilitates users’ comprehension of the judicial decisions and case law on the most pressing human rights challenges within the context of migration in Colombia and the Latin America and Caribbean region. To achieve this, a combination of teaching methods and tools are made available, including twenty infographics, fifteen podcasts, and five videos, all created with accessible and plain language for all audiences. Through the interactive platform, the Migration Judicial Log can be navigated easily using three available approaches based on the specific needs of each targeted audience: (i) Legal approach, (ii) Differential approach, and (iii) Community-based approach.

The web platform home page for the Migration Judicial Log gives users the option to navigate through any of the three available approaches.

The web platform home page for the Migration Judicial Log gives users the option to navigate through any of the three available approaches.

Users can navigate the information based on their specific needs.

Firstly, the Legal Approach aims to streamline the work of lawyers, legal clinics, and practitioners when dealing with cases where the rights of migrants and refugees are suspected to be at risk or violated. Users can easily navigate through key topics, including Civil and Political Rights; Economic, Social and Cultural rights; International Protection Mechanisms; Migration Regularization; Human Rights Violations related to Transnational Crimes; and other fundamental rights. The case law factsheets available in each section adhere to a predominantly technical-legal approach and contain judicial rulings issued by local, national, and international judicial decision-making bodies. By systematizing the judicial decisions related to the subject matter, the Log enhances users’ comprehension of specific legal issues.

Out there are cases where we have saved lives through jurisprudence.”

Edgar Antúnez

Migrant Community Leader

The Differential Approach on the platform serves as a practical tool to defend the well-being and integrity of migrants and refugees through the lenses of gender and social inclusion. This approach highlights that individuals and communities face human rights violations based on factors such as gender, age, sexual orientation, gender diversity, disability, race, ethnicity, religion, and other identity traits. Accordingly, this section focuses on adapting responses and solutions to address the distinct and individualized needs of specific populations, considering four key groups: Gender, Disability, Children and Youth, and Race and ethnicity. As a result, it is designed to complement the efforts of various actors in the human rights arena, including women-led civil society organizations, LGBTQI+ collectives, race equality associations, disability rights organizations, among many others.

The Differential Approach interface in the Migration Judicial Log, showing the gender, disability, and children and youth approaches.

The Differential Approach interface in the Migration Judicial Log, showing the gender, disability, and children and youth approaches.

Finally, the Community-based approach is designed as an enlightening and empowering resource for members of the migrant and refugee community, offering invaluable insights into their rights and the guarantees bestowed upon them. This approach is fundamentally based on the recognition that communities inherently understand their own needs to advocate for their rights. Therefore, this section allows users to navigate key topics, including the day-to-day challenges faced by the migrant and refugee population, such as Health, Labor Rights, Education, Religious freedom, Temporary Protection Permits, Refuge and Asylum, Rights to non-discrimination, Rights of Children and youth, Due process,  Migrant smuggling, and Human trafficking.  

The content on the virtual platform is both educational and entertaining, providing the migrant population with the opportunity to acquire legal knowledge in a user-friendly and accessible manner."

Xiomara Ibarra

ICESI University Team

Through its conceptual framework for conveying judicial information to the array of practical tools, the Migration Judicial Log strives to create an interactive resource that empowers individuals and communities to effectively address human rights violations in the context of migration.  This innovative tool demonstrates ABA ROLI's commitment to ensuring that everyone, regardless of immigration status, can exercise their inalienable right to access justice and information, through the rule of law. As this tool continues to be used and widely disseminated throughout Colombia, it has the potential to democratize legal knowledge and foster meaningful change for migrants and refugees who, each day, are subjected to marginalization, exclusion, and rights violations.

Learn more about ABA ROLI’s work across Latin America and the Caribbean.