The Pro Bono Network for Human Rights
05.12.2014 / 18:21 / News
In 2016, we received over 60 requests for pro bono legal assistance in cases concerning human rights violations of vulnerable groups, such as children, people with disabilities, elderly, Roma, single mothers, women affected by gender based violence, etc.
About the project
The Pro Bono Network for Human Rights is designed to facilitate the access to justice for vulnerable groups in order to meet their needs of a free and adequate legal representation and assistance. The main objective of the project is to create a Pro Bono Network of lawyers to provide legal representation and assistance to vulnerable groups. The project also aims to build capacity for lawyers to work on discrimination and human rights violations cases and to use the main national, European and international documents concerning human rights conventions in court.
The project is addressed to persons suffering from discrimination or whose human rights have been infringed, and addresses a major human rights issue in Romania – the limited access to justice of vulnerable groups, such as Roma, women, people with disabilities, HIV positive persons, LGBTI community. In its last visit to Romania, the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers highlighted the lack of measures to ensure access to justice for all, the lack of financial resources and the limited legal aid services as important obstacles for the justice system. Moreover, several international organisations have expressed their concerns on the difficulty in finding specialised human rights lawyers. For example, the UN Committee signaled a lack of awareness among Romanian lawyers on the CEDAW Convention and its Optional Protocol. All these issues, in the context of Romania’s young democracy and lack of tradition to report violations of human rights, are significant barriers to equal access to justice.
The Pro Bono Network for Human Rights aims to:
– provide free legal advice and assistance in the area of discrimination and human rights, through a Network of lawyers that work pro bono, in 3 counties in Romania: Cluj, Mureş and Bistriţa-Năsăud;
– build capacity for 30 lawyers from the 3 counties to instrument cases in the area of human rights and make use in court of the legally binding international and European conventions (mainly CEDAW and its Optional Protocol, and the European Convention for Human Rights);
– inform local and regional NGOs (around 50 representatives) about the project and to consult with them regarding the efficiency of the Network and their needs (3 local NGO meetings;
– increase the visibility of human rights and the crimes related to them in the public agenda;
– contribute to establishing a legal clinic at the Law Faculty of Babes-Bolyai University Cluj-Napoca