Filmed session from the IBA annual conference 2014 presented by the Pro Bono Committee and Young Lawyers Committee of the IBA. What are the challenges faced by young lawyers in conducting pro bono work and how should firms and bar associations help?
Human rights violations in North Korea have long been a source of concern to the international community. In 2013, the United Nations Human Rights Council established a Commission of Inquiry (COI) on human rights violations in North Korea. The COI was chaired by Hon Michael Kirby, past Justice of the High Court of Australia and an IBAHRI Council Member. The COI's mandate extended to investigation of political prison camps, discrimination, starvation and famine, lack of free expression and media, public execution and absence of fair trial rights.
The COI report was recently delivered, covering all mandate topics and specifically addressing the issue of whether crimes against humanity have been established and if so how those responsible may be rendered accountable to international law and to their victims.
One topic of special interest to Japan was the abduction over an extended period of foreign nationals by agents of the North Korean state.
The panellists at this IBAHRI showcase session were Michael Kirby; Steven Kay QC, IBA War Crimes Committee Co-Chair; Jung Hoon Lee, Republic of Korea Human Rights Ambassador; Do Hee Yun, Citizens’ Coalition for Human Rights of Abductees and North Korean Refugees, Japan; and an anonymous North Korean refugee who gave an account of his life in, and escape from, North Korea.
Part 1 of 2.
What are we talking about when we talk about access to justice? If we simply assert that all should have access to legal advice and representation regardless of means, can we really seriously think this is a possibility? And if we recognise that it isn't, what then?
In many countries, access to justice is a constitutional right of the citizens. Does this not mean states have to provide a functioning system of access to justice ensuring the provision of the necessary means?
Do we go ahead and do our best to give advice and assistance to as many as possible? Or is more required of us?
We know that lawyers have a special responsibility to protect and promote the rule of law, but does this mean that, to assist those who cannot afford lawyers, they should be seeking to have laws simplified, so that lawyers become less necessary?
Do lawyers have a role in persuading legislators that new laws are not always the best ways to achieve change, and that passing just laws without the resources to enforce them can increase injustice?
And what if the barriers are cultural or educational? Is it the job of lawyers to seek to change the conditions that shut groups of people out from justice?
Do they have the necessary skills and training for this, and, if not, should they have?
How can the largest firms, with their exceptional resources and case management capabilities, make a real difference?
This showcase session discusses the many ways we can use our training, thinking and commitment to expand and energise the concept of access to justice.
This IBA Showcase Session focused on successful initiatives aimed at eliminating all forms of human trafficking. High-level experts discussed legal remedies designed to end trafficking. Speakers highlighted supply chain compliance efforts, governmental regulation of trafficking, prosecution strategies, as well as other successful regional and international initiatives to hold traffickers accountable.
The world has a long way to go to eliminate human trafficking. The International Labor Organization estimates that 20.9 million men, women, and children are held in servitude around the globe. But in 2012, there were just 7,705 prosecutions in the entire world.
Combating trafficking of human beings - modern day slavery - demands a comprehensive approach. It requires a commitment from all sectors of society: public health and social services workers and agencies, community and faith-based organisations, law enforcement, the legal profession, businesses and foundations, and private citizens.
In the decade since the United Nations trafficking 'Palermo Protocols' entered into force, anti-trafficking experts have learned a great deal about what works - and what does not. Successful strategies can disrupt trafficking into forced labour, trafficking into forced prostitution, as well as the commercial exploitation of children. Trafficking does not affect only women, but also men and children.
Experts recommend a 'victim-centred approach', a focus on the needs of each victim during all phases of a criminal investigation and prosecution. Successful programmes empower victims, providing them with access to justice that ensures respect for their human rights and dignity. Multi-disciplinary teams made up of law enforcement, social service and health care providers, lawyers, prosecutors, and judges are a crucial element in combating this human rights scourge.