The Voluntary cooperation project “Protection of the rights of children, women and other vulnerable communities” (PRODEF) is implemented by Lawyers without borders Canada (LWBC) in consortium with the International Bureau for Children’s Rights (IBCR) and in conjunction with Le Barreau du Québec (Quebec Bar) as part of the voluntary cooperation program funded by Global Affairs Canada. The project is characterized by its reliance on specific Canadian expertise and its focus on improving the protection of rights of children, women, and marginalized communities as well as on strengthening democracy and the rule of law through access to justice. The project provides for the deployment of one hundred volunteers in nine countries.
The aim of the project is to tackle important development challenges like the inadequate protection of children’s rights; impunity; inequality in enjoyment of rights; discriminatory practices; limited access to justice; weak judicial institutions and corruption; contexts of post-conflictual democratic transition where innovative and adapted solutions are needed to address serious human rights violations; pressure and intimidation against civil society organizations working in the field; and lack of specialized technical and methodological skills required for the prevention, promotion, protection, and defence of human rights.
The project provides for the deployment of one hundred Canadian volunteers in nine countries within local partner organizations advocating for human rights, especially those of women and children, so they may use their expertise to meet the needs of partners and beneficiaries through capacity-building activities. In return, the project allows Canadians to acquire unique experience in international development, and subsequently contribute to educating and engaging the Canadian public.
Our results so far:
- More than 15 000 women and girls benefited from greater protection of their rights thanks to volunteer support;
- More than 1 000 women and girls have been made aware of their rights, and prepared to face the various stages of the judicial process;
- More than 1 400 victims of human rights violations—including 430 women and girls—benefited from better legal representation services;
- More than 130 cases handled by international authorities for serious human rights violations, particularly in respect of forced disappearances, human trafficking, genocide, and sexual abuse;
- More than 10 legislative proposals developed in favour of the rights of children, adolescents, and women, as well as against child marriage;
- Representation of cases before international legal authorities that provided access to justice after more than 20 years of waiting.
The LWBC-IBCR consortium
Founded in 2002, Lawyers without borders Canada (LWBC) is a non-governmental international cooperation organization whose mission is to support human rights advocacy for groups or individuals whose circumstances make them vulnerable, by improving access to justice and legal representation. LWBC seeks to contribute to the defence and promotion of human rights, uphold the rule of law, fight against impunity, improve the security and independence of human rights lawyers, ensure fair trials, and contribute to the continuing education of justice practitioners and members of civil society.
Through its Voluntary cooperation program, and since its inception, LWBC has been helping Canadian legal experts to contribute to international solidarity efforts by using their professional experience to benefit partners in fragile or developing countries. To this day, close to 200 voluntary cooperation missions have been carried out in more than 20 countries. For more information, visit: http://www.asfcanada.ca/.
Founded in 1994, the International Bureau for Children’s Rights (IBCR) is a non-governmental international cooperation organization whose mission is to contribute to the respect and promotion of children’s rights, in accordance with the commitments outlined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its optional protocols.
As a centre of technical expertise in children’s rights with consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC), IBCR is working to build capacities of those who work directly with children by sharing knowledge and best practices, or by developing tools and reference guides. IBCR works in conjunction with government agencies and civil society organizations to help them adopt practices tailored for children’s rights. IBCR also seeks to educate decision-makers to encourage them to adopt laws and programs that better respect children’s rights. For more information, visit: http://www.ibcr.org/en/.
Barreau du Québec
Le Barreau du Québec (Quebec Bar) is collaborating in implementing the project through its international internship program, and by supporting public awareness and engagement efforts within the legal community. For more information, visit: http://www.barreau.qc.ca/en/.
Our volunteers are committed to carrying out a cooperation mission. As such, they contribute directly to the defence and the protection of vulnerable communities. By doing so, they share their expertise to help build capacities of partner organizations. The project allows Canadians to acquire a unique experience, enabling them to raise awareness among the public about issues such as the respect of the rights of women, children, and other vulnerable communities.Apply
Intervention and Partner Countries
The project has been implemented in nine countries (Costa Rica, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Colombia, Peru, Ivory Coast, Morocco and Tunisia) for the benefit of 17 local partners, comprising mainly civil society organizations but also State entities.
Lawyers without borders Canada in Colombia–LWBC
LWBC has been active in Colombia since 2003, where it participates in the national dialogue on transitional justice, and supports the legal representation of the victims of the conflict, notably in emblematic cases of serious human rights violations.
Corporación Humanas is a centre for study and political action, whose mission is to promote and advocate for the human rights of women, international humanitarian law, and gender justice in Colombia and in Latin America.
Founded in 1987, Fundacion Paniamor is a non-profit civil organization that is technical and preventative in nature, and without political affiliations. In 1989, the state of Costa Rica declared it of public interest. Its mission is to bring about sustainable change in children’s rights and their quality of life in Costa Rica.
Association des femmes juristes de Côte d’Ivoire – AFJCI
The AFJCI is a non-governmental Ivorian organization created in 1984, and engaged in the defence and the promotion of human rights, particularly those of women and children. Its mission is to strive for equal justice between sexes, and to improve access to rights and justice for all citizens, particularly the most vulnerable.
Solidarité des femmes haïtiennes - SOFA, Mouvement des femmes haïtiennes pour l’éducation et le développement - MOUFHED et Kay Fanm
SOFA, MOUFHED and Kay Fanm are women’s organizations that have developed strong collaborative relations in the context of multiple initiatives for the promotion and defence of women’s rights and the fight against gender discrimination.
Collectif contre l’impunité
The Collectif contre l’impunité is one of the leading actors in strategic human rights litigation cases and fight against impunity in Haiti.
Office de la protection du Citoyen – OPC
The OPC is a national institution for the promotion and protection of human rights. Its mission is to protect citizens against any form of abuse by the public administration.
Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos – APRODEH
APRODEH is a non-governmental organization whose mission is to contribute to the development of social, judicial, and political processes that protect and promote the respect of all rights for all citizens, particularly the most vulnerable.
Capital Humano y Social Alternativo - CHS Alternativo
CHS Alternativo is a non-governmental organization aiming at promoting the development of individuals, organizations and society, by focusing on human rights. It specializes in issues related to human trafficking, sexual exploitation of children, labor exploitation, and child labor.
Instituto Promoviendo Desarrollo Social – IPRODES
IPRODES is an association that supports the development of rural and peri-urban areas in Peru. Its mission is to advance the human rights of women, youth and children in discriminated groups because of economic, political, and social reasons.
Lawyers without borders Canada in Guatemala
LWBC has been in Guatemala since 2009 and is particularly active in terms of strategic human rights litigation and capacity-building of lawyers and legal stakeholders.
Bufete de derechos humanos – BDH
BDH is the leading actor in the country in terms of strategic litigation of emblematic human rights cases. The organization relies on a team of more than a dozen lawyers and legal experts working for the legal representation of victims of severe human rights violations, and the fight against impunity.
Centro para la acción legal en derechos humanos – CALDH
CALDH is one of the primary civil society organizations in Guatemala. Its mission is to promote and advocate for human rights; access to justice; recovery of the historical memory; and the deconstruction of discrimination, racism, and any other form of oppression.
Fundación Myrna Mack–FMM
Founded in 1993, the Myrna Mack foundation, which was inspired by the anthropologist Myrna Elizabeth Mack Chang, carries out research and develops proposals aimed at fighting impunity and promoting the establishment of the rule of law in Guatemala, as well as peace and democracy. Its activities are organized around five axes of intervention: justice, democratic security, citizen participation, state transformation, and a culture that rejects impunity.
Comité de familiares de detenidos y desaparecidos en Honduras - COFADEH
For over 30 years, COFADEH’s mission has been to contribute to the respect and effectiveness of human rights, and to keep alive the memory of the victims of serious human rights violations.
Centro de investigación y promoción de los derechos humanos – CIPRODEH
CIPRODEH has a leadership role in the conduct of research, awareness, promotion, and advocacy activities as well as technical support in human rights.
Bayti has five reception centres in Casablanca, Essaouira, and Kenitra. Its mission is to work with children living in the streets in difficult situations. The organization is focusing on preventing the exclusion of children; their protection against any form of violence; their psychosocial rehabilitation; and their professional, social, and family reintegration.
Amal pour la famille et l’enfant
The Association Amal pour la famille et l’enfant contributes to the empowerment of women in unprivileged areas, particularly single mothers, by defending their rights to a dignified life and the recognition of their social and legal status. The Association also works toward the fulfilment of the best interests of the child by fostering access to education, expression and participation rights.