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ABA Rule of Law Initiative Annual Report 2018


For 30 years and in more than 100 countries, the American Bar Association’s Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) has advanced justice, economic opportunity, and human dignity through the rule of law. The world has changed dramatically since 1989, when the ABA founded the Central and Eastern European Law Initiative (CEELI) in response to the fall of the Berlin Wall. Initially, CEELI deployed ABA members to focus on assisting transitioning democracies with drafting new constitutions and laws.

Since then, our programs have changed to meet emerging economic, legal, and political challenges. Whether we are working with lawyers in Armenia to implement best practices in international law, providing technical legal assistance to judges in Bahrain, advocating to criminalize slavery in Mali, training lawyers in Southeast Asia on Internet advocacy, or supporting the justice sector in Liberia, we seek lasting institutional reform. Some programs are directed to the protection of the rights of vulnerable groups, such as children, migrant workers, or the LGBT community, in countries as different as China and El Salvador. Public access to the legal system and transparency remain a mainstay of our work in many countries. With more than 500 team members and dedicated pro bono lawyers around the world, we leverage our expertise through collaboration with local partners, governments, and other organizations. Our programs are as diverse as the challenges to the rule of law.

Recently, ABA ROLI began an annual conference series on contemporary rule of law issues, accompanied by an issues paper to highlight research, challenges, and sustainable solutions. These conferences bring together policymakers, development professionals, lawyers, and judges to address systemic issues that have a significant impact on the rule of law. The 2018 conference, "When People Flee: Rule of Law and Forced Migration," also complemented ABA ROLI's on-the-ground work on refugees, internally displaced persons, human trafficking, and bias-motivated violence.

ABA ROLI thanks our donors, partners, dedicated staff, and volunteers who collaborate with us to make this work possible.

- Judge M. Margaret McKeown
ABA ROLI Board Chair

- Alberto J. Mora
ABA Associate Executive Director for Global Programs

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