Dear Friends of the Vance Center,
Amid widespread pressure on the rule of law and world leaders’ failure to address climate change and migration, the UN Human Rights Council’s approval of the international right to a healthy environment in October was a singular legal advance, which the Vance Center supported significantly. Our Environment Program since 2012 has pursued this goal on behalf of successive UN Special Rapporteurs on Human Rights and the Environment, working with more than 200 lawyers from three dozen law firms covering all UN member states, and now it is striving to enforce this right.
Our many other accomplishments this year included:
- Promoting the rights of incarcerated women worldwide through our Women in Prison Network, including advocacy before Latin American and African human rights bodies;
- Advancing adherence to the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights on behalf of human rights clients and among bar associations and law firms;
- Launching the Anti-Corruption Assessment in Latin America, a measurement of how effective lawyers consider not only legislation but its enforcement against corruption;
- Expanding legal help for families separated by US immigration policies through pro bono support by lawyers now in 27 countries through Keep Families Together;
- Bringing together partners in pro bono practice and gender equity from Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa to collaborate in pursuing best practices;
- Securing funding to mentor Black women lawyers in South Africa and continue to support judicial independence in Central America;
- Supporting investigative journalism worldwide and local journalism in the United States.
In numbers, these accomplishments showed significant growth:
- We provided direct pro bono support to 80 clients working with 156 law firms and 573 lawyers, 25% growth in clients and 35% growth in lawyers engaged;
- Our budget grew 20% to $1.2 million, and our staff 30% to 13 professionals.
For those who don’t know, the Vance Center is a nonprofit program, providing pro bono legal representation to human rights, environmental, and journalism organizations, and strengthening the legal profession’s diversity and ethics, worldwide.
I hope you share my sense of pride in the work that we were able to accomplish with your past support. Our ongoing efforts depend on you in the same way. Please contribute what you can.