Vance Center Gets Recognition Before UN Human Rights Council

June 2021

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers Diego García Sayán recognized the Vance Center’s research on the challenges for judicial independence from the COVID-19 pandemic in his report to the United Nations Human Rights Council. The Vance Center supported the Special Rapporteur’s research on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on judicial systems and their independence and access to justice through a multi-national survey.

In collaboration with several international law firms, the Vance Center provided the Special Rapporteur with information from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Kenia, Mexico, Morocco, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Korea, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States of America (several jurisdictions), United Arab Emirates, and Uzbekistan.

In the report, submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 44/8, the Special Rapporteur focused on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on judicial systems and recommended measures to help State authorities to provide access to justice and maintain a functioning and independent judiciary . Paragraph 9 of the report stated: “The Special Rapporteur wishes to recognize the contribution of the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice and its network of 52 law firms, which submitted responses to the questionnaire circulated to support the drafting of this report.”

The Special Rapporteur also cited the 2020 report “Justice in the times of COVID-19, Challenges to the Judiciary in Latin America & the Caribbean,” authored by Vance Center Latin America Policy Director Jaime Chavez Alor and Programs Director Marie-Claude Jean-Baptiste, and the International Legal Assistance Consortium. That report mapped how pandemic-focused emergency measures across the region have impacted the practical functioning of the judiciary and, in turn, individual rights and access to justice.

The Human Rights Council resolution A/HRC/47/35 is available in English, Spanish, French, Chinese, Russian, and Arabic.