Legal Advocacy

Beyond litigation, the Justice Initiative seeks to advance human rights and the rule of law through active advocacy efforts, aimed at national and regional policymakers and governments. 

Pushing for Change

Outside the courtroom, the Justice Initiative uses legal arguments and analysis to push governments and those who hold power toward positive, real-world change. We confront abuses and work for solutions, engaging with national governments as well as with international and multilateral institutions to strengthen the rule of law and defend people's human rights. 

Our advocacy staff are based in Berlin, Brussels, London, New York, Santo Domingo, and Washington, D.C. Their efforts are supported by our reporting and research on human rights abuses, as well as by our efforts to establish new standards in developing areas of the law. Supported by the resources of the Open Society Foundations, we are also able to react rapidly to new global challenges, and to play a convening role for civil society groups seeking to respond.

We also work selectively with governments on pilot schemes to address systemic issues and to strengthen the mechanisms and systems that support global accountability. 

Working to Strengthen Human Rights Courts

Our advocacy to support and strengthen the international rule of law includes our support for the European Implementation Network, which works to ensure that national governments respond to rulings from the European Court of Human Rights. In Latin America we work with partners to promote a transparent selection process for senior judges and experts for the Inter-American Court and Commission.

Pushing for Access to Justice through the Sustainable Development Goals

The Justice Initiative was part of a successful push to include access to justice and the right to legal identity in Goal 16 of the UN's 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. Today, our advocates are working in partnership with governments and civil society groups around the world to realize that vision--and to make clear the links between justice and development.

Seeking Accountability for Atrocities in Syria

In the face of inaction by UN member states, a diverse range of civil society groups have joined the push for justice for war crimes in Syria. Advocacy by the Justice Initiative has supported inclusive dialogue and coordination between all those involved, aiming to maximize both diplomatic and legal results.

In action

Press release

Open Society Justice Initiative Sues Trump Administration over International Criminal Court Executive Order

The Open Society Justice Initiative has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government over a Trump administration executive order authorizing draconian economic sanctions and severe civil and criminal penalties for those who support the ICC.

October 01, 2020
Advocacy update

Migrant Farmworkers in Greece Remain Unprotected After Disappointing Council of Europe Decision

The Open Society Justice Initiative is expressing concern over a decision to suspend Greece's obligation to make labor policy changes that would protect migrant farmworkers.

September 17, 2020
Advocacy update

Justice Initiative Says Nominees for ICC Prosecutor Need Additional Vetting

The Justice Initiative and Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice submitted an open letter asking for additional, robust vetting of all candidates nominated for the ICC’s next prosecutor.

September 11, 2020
Advocacy update

Justice Initiative Calls for Strengthening of UN Human Rights Treaty Body System

The Open Society Justice Initiative has intervened in an informal civil society consultation about the state of the United Nations human rights treaty body system.

August 31, 2020
Advocacy update

Justice Initiative Calls on U.S. to Deploy Global Magnitsky Act to Curb COVID-19 Rights and Corruption Abuses

The Open Society Justice Initiative is calling on the U.S. government to use the Global Magnitsky Act to address human rights abuses and corruption related to COVID-19 pandemic responses around the world.

July 09, 2020

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