Lawyers and advocates from the Open Society Justice Initiative seek to protect basic democratic rights around the world—often in the face of authoritarian repression that seeks to silence dissent.
Promoting the rights of people to organize freely and speak critically about their governments—individually or together—lies at the heart of the mission of the Open Society Foundations.
At the Justice Initiative, we vigorously advocate against government efforts to curtail those freedoms. We are committed, in particular, to defending the independence of mechanisms of accountability, including prosecutors, judges, bar associations and law societies, as well as independent human rights and law groups from illegitimate attacks on their work and funding. We also seek to promote the public’s right to obtain information needed to ensure accountable government.
Is the EU Acting Boldly Enough to Defend Civil Society and Democracy?
The EU says its latest report on the rule of law will be a preventive tool to “ensure there is no backsliding,” but many have their doubts. Now, members of civil society are calling for swift action.
Principles and Guidelines on Protest and the Right to Information
These guidelines were drafted by the Justice Initiative and the Northern Ireland-based Committee on the Administration of Justice, in consultation with civil society groups, police professionals, and other experts, including from the United Nations and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
Hungary’s Anti-NGO Tax Law Violates Free Speech and Freedom of Association
The Venice Commission, Europe’s leading body of legal experts on democracy and the rule of law, has called on Hungary to repeal a 25 percent tax on NGOs working on migration issues.
Democracy and Human Rights Resource Centre and others v. Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan's freezing of the bank accounts of NGOs and human rights activists represents a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Bumbeș v. Romania
Together with Greenpeace Romania, the Justice Initiative argues that activist Mihail-Liviu Bumbeș should not have been required to give three days notice when he and three others chained themselves to the gate of a Romanian government building.
Freedom FM v. Cameroon
This case concerns a current-affairs radio station that was denied a broadcasting license in Cameroon.
African Court Calls on Nations to Bolster Election Fairness and Transparency During COVID-19
All African Union Member States have a duty under international law to guarantee fairness and transparency in elections during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is Deploying a Massive New Database to Gather Biometric Information
A new U.S. Department of Homeland Security biometric database is projected to contain information on hundreds of millions of people by 2022 and represents an alarming development to scale up the agency's surveillance and information-sharing ability.
How NGOs, Journalists, and Courtroom Eyewitnesses can Strengthen Reporting on Atrocity Crimes Trials
Trial monitors play an important role in keeping the public informed of events in the courtroom. The Justice Initiative’s Monitoring Atrocity Crimes Trials: A Guide, offers clear guidance on what to monitor and how to convey important information.
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