Saturday, September 15, 2012

International Bridges to Justice

In recognition of the fundamental principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Bridges to Justice (IBJ) is dedicated to protecting the basic legal rights of ordinary citizens in developing countries. Specifically, IBJ works to guarantee all citizens the right to competent legal representation, the right to be protected from cruel and unusual punishment, and the right to a fair trial.              

Karen Tse
Such is International Bridges to Justice‘s mission. According to its founder, Karen Tse, every one of us in our own individual way can commit to supporting defenders to end torture as an investigative tool. Go to Get Involved on IBJ’s website to find out how.

IBJ works towards this mission because globally, “those held in pretrial detention face the most significant risk of torture and other forms of ill-treatment.” Also according to IBJ, “Though pre-trial detainees have not been found guilty of any crime, they are still deprived of their freedom, either because they cannot afford bail or because bail has been denied. Pre-trial detention exposes countless individuals to horrific conditions and abuse – often for months or years – before any hearing on the merits of their case has been held.”Meanwhile, Karen Tse’s venture has trained a multitude of public defense lawyers, opened training centers for lawyers in China and, via rights awareness campaigns, distributed thousands of “posters, brochures, community education events, radio call-in shows and public service announcements to help individuals understand and gain access to their legal rights.” It currently has country programs in Burundi, Cambodia, China, India, Rwanda and Zimbabwe. In China, for instance, IBJ and the Communist Youth League managed to get thousands of law students to hang posters in police stations throughout the country listing people’s rights during interrogations. Just one of many amazing feats.
As has already been written, “Karen Tse, undaunted, focuses on the positive.”