Posts Tagged ‘webinar’

Lawyers are the frontline warriors and defenders of the rule of law

September 15, 2020

Thanks to student Amrita Nair in the Leaflet of 14 September 2020 we have a good report of Indira Jaising‘s webinar: “The nature of the Legal Profession: Its role, challenges and limitations

She referred to the courts as the conflict zones and lawyers being people who resolve conflicts.

Quoting Atticus Finch, Jaising stated that the courts are to be great levelers where all men must be treated equally, but alas, this is ideal, but not necessarily the situation. Bias, blind prejudice, and lack of access to legal services have created huge gaps between people, making them less equal from one another. People come to the courts for all sorts of reasons. But the largest litigant in the court of law is the State, being respondent in a plethora of cases relating to fundamental rights violations and enjoying the monopoly for prosecuting crimes, among other things. While the state has the privilege to prosecute crimes, several individuals find themselves arrayed as accused persons in these cases, warranting the help of legal representation to prevent being stripped off of their right to life and liberty. The fight of an individual against the might of the state is unequal in criminal cases, making the system intrinsically unequal and discriminatory. Not every individual has the resources to hire a lawyer who could represent their case to the best of their capabilities. It is during such times that lawyers must come to the rescue of the unfortunate and underprivileged, to help restore balance in the system.

Jaising traced back the history of the evolution of the legal profession, stating that India got it from the British and emphasised how important it is to study the history of courts to understand how and why they function the way they do, today.

She spoke about the concept of the Star Chambers where the proceedings went on in closed chambers with only the judge, the jury, and the executioner present. Emphasis was laid on how there was no legal representation allowed and everything depended on how a person defended his own case, making it highly arbitrary as not everyone possessed the skills to defend themselves.

The emergence of the legal profession came with the modern judges having local experience and the position of the Barrister being created, with wide powers including the power to remove other advocates. The judicial system has come a long way since then, with modern-day High Courts and the Supreme Court making their own rules and the monopoly of Barristers being removed.

The Indian Bar Council Act was enforced with the objective of unifying various practicing advocates under the banner of lawyers or the members of the Bar. The Bar Councils were given more powers with regard to the decisions in matters of education, regulation and appointment. The Advocates Act of 1961 established an All India Bar which had wide powers and duties in regard to the legal profession.

Jaising remarked that the rejection of the Star Chambers and the need to protect the life and liberty of the people is what our system is based on. Lawyers are the frontline warriors and defenders of rule of law, which is a basic feature of the Constitution.

She said it was the duty of the lawyers in defending and upholding the values of the 73-year-old Constitution of India.

While speaking about the Parliamentary form of government, Jaising observed that the government does may claim to represent the will of the people, but their decisions and laws are subject to judicial review and even a majoritarian government cannot violate the basic features of the Constitution. It was the duty of the lawyers to question them when they seemed to deviate from the constitutional principles and mandate.

Addressing the issues surrounding the independence of the judiciary, Jaising stated that there cannot be an independent judiciary without the independence of the legal profession. Just as there exists the separation of powers between the three branches of the government, lawyers must be independent of judges. They must be allowed to make bona fide criticism of judges and the judgements or else the system gets reduced to the archaic Star Chambers, without any voice of opposition.

She explained that being charged with contempt of court charge by the judiciary threatened the independence of the legal profession. Prashant Bhushan’s case being a recent example. In Bhushan’s case, the court exercised powers to convict him dehors the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.  Fundamental rights can only be restricted by law and not by relying on the inherent powers to convict, the court threatened the freedom of speech and the independence of the legal system by bypassing the Act.

“Lawyers need to be respectful of judges, but not sycophants. Lawyers who bend over backward for judges pose a threat to the independence of the legal system,” she said.

According to her, an attack on one lawyer is an attack against the entire profession. The ability of lawyers to speak truth to power must be defended collectively through Bar Associations and Bar Councils. The need of the hour is more Bar Associations that speak out on issues of Human Rights, she said.

Jaising explained how the police were often the biggest lawbreakers, relying on the media to defame the innocent. Press conferences being held by the police while the case is sub judice brings prejudice into the matter and amounts to contempt of court. It is the lawyers that step in to defend the individuals against the might of the State and a prejudiced media, she said.

She pointed out that the right to legal representation itself is under attack. She spoke of how the State had the time and again targeted various lawyers defending the foundations of the Indian Constitution by standing against CAA, defending human rights, criticizing the State among other things. As lawyers and members of the legal community, despite all attacks, the only way to live is to stand up for our rights.

When asked about the pay gap between a corporate job and litigation and whether one would have enough to fend for themselves if they take up the litigation route, Jaising made an observation that the ones who chose the corporate path realised soon that the pursuit of wealth is not giving them any satisfaction. She responded by saying that all law students must come together and demand that all juniors working with a senior advocate must be paid a minimum amount of salary that is pre-decided and equal for all. It must be taken up at an institutional level and the Bar Council must come up with a rule to tackle this problem. Like in the US, ones engaging in pro bono work must have their loans waived and must do a mandatory 2-3 years of pro bono with law firms. She encouraged students to engage in work that they’re passionate about and not be driven by the quest for money. The satisfaction derived out of the work is priceless and one will never feel the lack of money when they engage in the work that they love and are passionate about.

In response to a question regarding the emotional connect of a lawyer with a client and the righteousness of the law and how it might prove to be an impediment, Jaising said that it is always possible to have an emotional connection with the client while also being dispassionate about the case. It is important to not make a conflict out of the two. One must not lie or manipulate the record but make the judge see the law as they see it or how the law ought to be seen.

“Get up, stand up and stand up for your rights!” said Jaising. She urged law students and lawyers to become human rights defenders and fight for principles they believed in.

The ability of lawyers to speak truth to power must be defended collectively by the Bar: Indira Jaising

4 June 2020 Webinar on business and human rights in the context of COVID-19

May 27, 2020

Having just posted a report on the prolifiration of intergovernmental responses to the Corona virus pandemic [https://wp.me/pQKto-4ob], it perhaps good to point to the webinar that Business & human rights is organising on 4 June 2020 on Risks and Protection of Human Rights Defenders.

This webinar will have a focus on the risks and protection of HRDs, particularly labour rights and land/environmental defenders and ensuring their participation in the post-pandemic recovery.

Date & Time: 4 June, 4.15 – 5.15 (ICT) / 10.15 – 11.15 (BST)

It will have two parts: a closed and an open session. The closed session – happening on Jitsi – will be a safe space for civil society organisations, human rights defenders, including labour rights and land and environmental defenders, labour unions, and journalists to jointly define practical recommendations on what governments and companies can do to address human rights situation, particularly of labour, land, environmental defenders and civic freedoms, in the context of COVID-19. This part of the webinar is invite-only.

The second part – happening on Zoom – will be an open session, will be an opportunity for civil society, defenders, and journalists to interact with government and business representatives and discuss how companies, governments and civil society can work together to ensure all stakeholders are able to shape recovery efforts, and make sure they are human rights compliant. Anyone is free to join us in the public session by RSVP-ing below.

Save the date: 14 January 2020 Webinar on protection of human rights defenders in development

December 1, 2019

The Human Rights Funders Network announces a WEBINAR: “Uncalculated Risks: How funders can address threats to human rights defenders in development” to be held on 14 January 2020.

Sheryl Mendez of Freedom House, Katie Skartvedt and Greg Regaignon of Wellspring Philanthropic Fund, and Mark Fodor and Gretchen Gordon of the Coalition for Rights in Development, discuss how funders can use the report, Uncalculated Risks: Threats and attacks against human rights defenders and the role of development financiers, as a tool in their work.See: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/07/30/uncalculated-risks-attacks-on-human-rights-defenders-in-name-of-development/.More information (including a time and registration link) will be available soon!

WEBINAR addressing mental health support for human rights defenders

September 20, 2019

Recent research has shown that many human rights defenders are suffering PTSD, depression, and burnout as a result of the risks and stress of their work. Without adequate mental health support for activists, it could be difficult to sustain the human rights movement at a time when threats and risks of activism are increasing. How can funders take the wellbeing of activists into account through their funding? What are good practices to ensure that funders are doing no harm, and what are the options for actively supporting the resilience of activists to continue their work? Join the Human Rights Funders Network and Ariadne for a webinar on 20 September 2019 10:00am EST to learn more about the findings of the research and hear from peer donors about their efforts to integrate an awareness of wellbeing into their work.

Speakers:

  • Adam Brown, Associate Professor of Psychology, New School for Social Research
  • Marianne Mollmann, Director of Regional Programs, Fund for Global Human Rights
  • Magda Adamowicz, Senior Program Specialist, Open Society Foundations

The webinar is co-sponsored by Human Rights Funders Network Ariadne and will be moderated by Julie Broome, Ariadne Director.

Please register here.

WEBINAR: the “events” method for documenting human rights violations on 7 March

February 26, 2019

Are you an organisation, human rights group, or activist registering, documenting, analysing human rights cases? HURIDOCS invites you to join this webinar and discussion of the events method for documenting human rights violations!

  • What: Presentation and discussion on the events method for documenting human rights violations
  • Who: Bert Verstappen, Senior Documentalist at HURIDOCS
  • When: Thursday, 7 March 2019 from 14:00 to 15:30 UTC/GMT
  • Where: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFzIp9u-nsg

Data is like water – it needs a container to make it useful. The beginning of a human rights documentation projects often starts with containers like lists and spreadsheets. But at some point, the information will outgrow these containers – both in terms of quantity and complexity.

The way you design these containers will have an impact on what information you will gather, how you organise the information, and the kind of analysis you can carry out. HURIDOCS and its network developed the Events Standard Formats methodology (we now call the events method) – to provide a container specifically for organisations documenting human rights violations.

The purpose of the events method is to capture essential information with regard to individual cases of human rights violations in order to better understand patterns of violence, including “who did what to whom”. It involves gathering information about:

  • facts: what happened, where, and when
  • the possible human rights violations that were committed
  • the persons involved: which alleged perpetrator did what to which victim, what are the sources of information and which interventions were made.

For some of my earlier posts on HURIDOCS, see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/category/organisations/huridocs/

https://www.huridocs.org/2019/02/community-discussion-the-events-method-for-documenting-human-rights-violations/

WEBINARS on best practices for digitising documents in March 2017

March 7, 2017

Why digitise? Digitising your documents greatly improves access to your information, whether you are building an online public library to share documents related to corruption, or making documents searchable for your team. Digitisation also helps to preserve and protect important human rights information. Many defenders run the risk that malevolent groups seeking to destroy or confiscate witness testimony, evidence of abuse, and other sensitive information. Others run the risk of documents being subject to harmful storage conditions, such as humidity, insects, and rodents. These are just a few reasons for digitising your documents. However, figuring out the most efficient, affordable, and responsible way to digitise thousands of documents can be a daunting task especially for human rights defenders in the field.

  • When:
  • Where: ReadyTalk (use the access code 2458641 to join)
  • Who: Open to anyone who wants to learn more about digitizing documents

Whether you are a seasoned digitization expert or a human rights defender just starting to think about digitisation, this is a good occasion to learn and share.

If you are interested, please contact Kristin Antin at kristin@huridocs.orgHere is an example of a webinar hosted in January on managing contact information.

Source: Community Discussion: Best practices for digitising documents | HURIDOCS

12 January: Community Discussion by HURIDOCS on Managing human rights contacts

January 9, 2017

 

huridocs-signature-logoFrom mobilizing supporters, to organizing interviews, to fundraising, to persuading decision-makers, relationships are at the heart of human rights work. This is why it’s so important to have a system to document and manage these relationships. There are many Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) systems out there to help manage this information, but human rights groups often require additional attention to security, sustainability, and other custom features. So what CRM systems are human rights groups using today? What’s working well, and what are the challenges?

This HURIDOCS community discussion is an opportunity for CRM users, developers and advocates to share their experiences, knowledge and advice on contact management. A summary of the discussion will be written and shared on the HURIDOCS website.

When: 12 January 2017 at 4pm GMT
Where: Watch the webinar below from the embedded Hangout On Air, and participate via Twitter.
Who: open to anyone who wants to learn more about managing human rights contacts
So far, HURIDOCS has recruited human rights practitioners to present on their experiences using:

CiviCRM
Civi (a CiviCRM distribution)
Salesforce
ActionKit

If you have CRM experience you want to share, please contact: kristin@huridocs.org! To ask questions or make comments, use the #HURIDOCS hashtag on Twitter:

Source: Community Discussion: Managing human rights contacts | HURIDOCS

Webinar on Haiti with Author Fran Quigley and Mario Joseph on 12 February

February 6, 2015

Mario Joseph, Final Nominee MEA 2013, will be able to join the webinar, si Dye vle. on Thursday, 12 February at 8pm EST with author Fran Quigley and IJDH Director Brian Concannon. Fran published How Human Rights Can Build Haiti: Activists, Lawyers, and the Grassroots Campaign in September 2014. The book profiles Brian, BAI’s Managing Attorney Mario Joseph, and many other human rights defenders in their fight for justice in Haiti.
 
 
 

Webinar with Author Fran Quigley — by IJDH Boston.