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Latin America & the Caribbean Background

The ABA Rule of Law Initiative’s (ABA ROLI's) Latin American and Caribbean Division supports legal reform efforts in Ecuador, Panama, Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and Nicaragua, and has previously implemented programs in Costa Rica, Brazil, Paraguay and Peru. The Latin America and Caribbean Division has conducted a variety of programs, including documenting and combating human trafficking; advancing legal education and legal profession reforms; promoting mediation and alternative dispute resolution to improve access to justice; assisting in transitioning from inquisitorial to adversarial criminal justice systems and building justice sector capacity to combat transnational crime. We have also provided neutral advice and support to restructure laws in a number of substantive areas, including arbitration, commercial mediation, human trafficking and juvenile justice. We implement our programs through partnerships with local governments, bar associations, law schools and non-governmental organizations. Human rights organizations have documented how those children live in overcrowded cells, eat just once a day and are accused of collaboration with armed political groups. Other former child soldiers are afraid to return to their families for fear of being rejected by their communities. Moreover, many who do return find that they are convenient scapegoats whenever a crime is committed. Many of these children are also profoundly traumatized and devoid of any vocational skills and even a rudimentary education.