Donate
Areas Of Practice

Human Rights and Access to Justice

The Human Rights and Access to Justice Program protects individuals from discrimination, violence, injustice, and corruption, as well as supports international human rights bodies committed to such protection. The Program partners with local organizations and engages in projects related to advocacy and capacity building at the local, regional and international levels in furtherance of these goals. The Vance Center assists NGOs worldwide with projects related to violence against women, the protection of LGBT communities, prisoners’ rights, transitional justice, and accountability for atrocity crimes.

In addition to NGO clients, the Vance Center works closely with special rapporteurs of the U.N. Human Rights Council, U.N. treaty-based bodies, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and the Organization of American States (OAS), in furtherance of their mandate. We conduct research and analysis into complex legal issues involving multiple jurisdictions to assist with thematic or country studies, advocacy, and the provision of technical advice.

The Human Right and Access to Justice Program has a special focus on business and human rights, working with organizations in the United States and around the world to promote the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The Vance Center is also a part of a working group examining how the New York City Bar Association can engage more effectively with the UN Guiding Principles.

 

Out of concern for the safety and well-being of participants and as some of our speakers have become unavailable due to travel restrictions, we have decided to cancel the panel discussion on The Gambia v. Republic of the Union of Myanmar case. The event will be rescheduled for a later date.

Please reach out to Marie-Claude Jean-Baptiste at mjeanbaptiste@nycbar.org with any questions.

More on the City Bar’s response to coronavirus and guidance concerning events and activity at the City Bar can be found here:  https://www.nycbar.org/media-listing/media/detail/update-regarding-the-coronavirus-covid-19.

The invaluable support of The Vance Center and its review team helped the DCAF – ICRC project tremendously, by refining and increasing the practicality of a tool that will ultimately help companies mitigate security and human rights challenges and improve their impacts in the communities where they operate.

Claude Voillat, Economic Advisor, International Committee of the Red Cross

Undoubtedly, the Vance Center brochure on the ICC has contributed to the prevention of the future human rights violations and helps to demonstrate that we now have a new instrument and mechanism of protection at the international level.

Miguel Montenegro, Director, Comisión de Derechos Humanos de El Salvador

The Vance Center has been a godsend for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Program at Human Rights Watch. In 2015 we worked with the Vance Center on legal matters in Central Asia, the Caribbean and the United States of America, including an amicus brief submitted to the Supreme Court of the United States in the marriage equality case. Proactive, professional engagement, finding the right pro-bono partners and seeing projects through to completion are hallmarks of the Vance Center.

Graeme Reid, Director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Program, Human Rights Watch

The Vance Center provided Corporación Humanas with detailed research on laws regulating prostitution in the United States, Spain, Norway, France, Germany and the Netherlands for our advocacy against a draft law in Colombia to a grant labor rights to persons engages in prostitution which we believed to be unconstitutional because it would eliminate the crime of “incitement to prostitution”. To get a better grasp of the implications of the draft law on the rights of women, we needed information that allowed us to understand how other countries had legislated on the issue. The Vance Center’s research provided us with the quality materials which improved our advocacy.

María Adelaida Palacio, Legal Department Coordinator, Corporación Humanas - Colombia

New Projects

Women in Prison Amid Covid-19 - Open Letters to the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

...

Read More
Close

Women in Prison Amid Covid-19 - Open Letters to the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

Organizations and advocates, members of the Women in Prison Network convened by the Vance Center, submitted open letters to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The letter draws the Commissions’ attention to new research that has identified the severe risks women in detention throughout the African and American regions face regarding their health, safety, and basic human rights as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. It also calls on the Commissions’ support in ensuring that women in prison throughout Africa and the Americas, a vulnerable – and often forgotten – group, are not left behind in the COVID-19 response. The letters refer to research conducted by the Vance Center ‘s Women in Prison Project in collaboration with 15 organizations from the Network to assess government responses to the crisis in detention centers for women in the Global South. The Women in Prison Network  includes 45 individual advocates and 34 organizations from a total of 21 countries representing every continent and is a safe space for advocates to share information and best practices, seek collaborations, and build capacity for improved monitoring and reporting of conditions in women’s prisons worldwide.

Protecting the Right to Nationality of Minority Groups in the Central African Republic

The Vance Center assisted The Center for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD), an international NGO whose mission is to mitigate and resolve armed conflict through dialogue and mediation, in advising the government of the Central African Republic (CAR)...

Read more
Close

Protecting the Right to Nationality of Minority Groups in the Central African Republic

The Vance Center assisted The Center for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD), an international NGO whose mission is to mitigate and resolve armed conflict through dialogue and mediation, in advising the government of the Central African Republic (CAR) regarding revising the Nationality Code. Denial of full citizenship to CAR Muslims was one of the root causes of the recent violence between predominantly Muslim and Christian armed groups. Vance Center law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP conducted a comparative research of nationality laws in Brazil, Colombia, Kenya, and South Africa to identify best practices and lessons learned and made recommendations on how CAR can reform its nationality regime to be more inclusive and protective of minority groups.

Towards the Full Participation of Afro-Colombian Women in the Implementation of the Peace Accords

The Vance Center, in collaboration with the National Conference of Afro-Colombian Organizations (CNOA by its Spanish Acronym), brought together more than 40 Afro-Colombian women leaders from across Colombia for a seminar on how to maximize their...

Read more
Close

Towards the Full Participation of Afro-Colombian Women in the Implementation of the Peace Accords

The Vance Center, in collaboration with the National Conference of Afro-Colombian Organizations (CNOA by its Spanish Acronym), brought together more than 40 Afro-Colombian women leaders from across Colombia for a seminar on how to maximize their participation in the peace process following the historic peace accords between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The results of the seminar were later compiled in a manual which summarizes the concerns and expectations of Afro-Colombian women regarding participation in the transitional justice process and suggests strategies for maximizing this participation, including in their interactions with the government and other key players in the peace process.  While the peace accords call for the participation of victims and Afro-Colombian communities in the post-conflict transition, these groups so far have been mostly excluded. This project seeks to fulfill this key promise of the peace accords and enable Afro-Colombian women, a particularly vulnerable segment of the victims’ community, to participate effectively in the transitional justice process.

New Projects

Women in Prison Amid Covid-19 - Open Letters to the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

...

Read More
Close

Women in Prison Amid Covid-19 - Open Letters to the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

Organizations and advocates, members of the Women in Prison Network convened by the Vance Center, submitted open letters to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The letter draws the Commissions’ attention to new research that has identified the severe risks women in detention throughout the African and American regions face regarding their health, safety, and basic human rights as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. It also calls on the Commissions’ support in ensuring that women in prison throughout Africa and the Americas, a vulnerable – and often forgotten – group, are not left behind in the COVID-19 response. The letters refer to research conducted by the Vance Center ‘s Women in Prison Project in collaboration with 15 organizations from the Network to assess government responses to the crisis in detention centers for women in the Global South. The Women in Prison Network  includes 45 individual advocates and 34 organizations from a total of 21 countries representing every continent and is a safe space for advocates to share information and best practices, seek collaborations, and build capacity for improved monitoring and reporting of conditions in women’s prisons worldwide.

Protecting the Right to Nationality of Minority Groups in the Central African Republic

The Vance Center assisted The Center for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD), an international NGO whose mission is to mitigate and resolve armed conflict through dialogue and mediation, in advising the government of the Central African Republic (CAR)...

Read more
Close

Protecting the Right to Nationality of Minority Groups in the Central African Republic

The Vance Center assisted The Center for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD), an international NGO whose mission is to mitigate and resolve armed conflict through dialogue and mediation, in advising the government of the Central African Republic (CAR) regarding revising the Nationality Code. Denial of full citizenship to CAR Muslims was one of the root causes of the recent violence between predominantly Muslim and Christian armed groups. Vance Center law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP conducted a comparative research of nationality laws in Brazil, Colombia, Kenya, and South Africa to identify best practices and lessons learned and made recommendations on how CAR can reform its nationality regime to be more inclusive and protective of minority groups.

Towards the Full Participation of Afro-Colombian Women in the Implementation of the Peace Accords

The Vance Center, in collaboration with the National Conference of Afro-Colombian Organizations (CNOA by its Spanish Acronym), brought together more than 40 Afro-Colombian women leaders from across Colombia for a seminar on how to maximize their...

Read more
Close

Towards the Full Participation of Afro-Colombian Women in the Implementation of the Peace Accords

The Vance Center, in collaboration with the National Conference of Afro-Colombian Organizations (CNOA by its Spanish Acronym), brought together more than 40 Afro-Colombian women leaders from across Colombia for a seminar on how to maximize their participation in the peace process following the historic peace accords between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The results of the seminar were later compiled in a manual which summarizes the concerns and expectations of Afro-Colombian women regarding participation in the transitional justice process and suggests strategies for maximizing this participation, including in their interactions with the government and other key players in the peace process.  While the peace accords call for the participation of victims and Afro-Colombian communities in the post-conflict transition, these groups so far have been mostly excluded. This project seeks to fulfill this key promise of the peace accords and enable Afro-Colombian women, a particularly vulnerable segment of the victims’ community, to participate effectively in the transitional justice process.