Rapport annuel 2020-2021

Taking
pride in
commitment.

Overview

This annual report was produced under somewhat unusual circumstances. As the time has come to look back on our work and achievements between April 1, 2019, and March 31, 2020, we’re still managing the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on our activities. On March 11, 2019—the day the World Health Organization declared the pandemic—we were just reaching the end of a record 2019–2020 financial year in terms of the scope of our activities, the results we achieved, and the budgets involved. We had just started planning the organization’s funding for 2020–2021, and then everything changed.

LWBC’s Actions During the Pandemic

We too have had to abide by exceptional measures to protect those working with us or close to us. A large portion of the work we do in the field with victims of human rights violations involves collective gatherings. These events have had to be cancelled or postponed, as have our trips abroad, inside the country or in the region. Most of our volunteers abroad have had to be repatriated to their country of origin, where lockdowns, working from home, and physical distancing has become the new normal. In spite of it all, Lawyers Without Borders Canada (LWBC) has continued to invest energy into fulfilling its commitments to solidarity and international cooperation.

Progress, Results, Victories

Like previous years, in 2019–2020 we witnessed many steps in the right direction for human rights—improving the lives of people in situations of vulnerability—and victories that will have a lasting change in society. This report presents some of these advances; you can read more about our accomplishments online. Among these achievements, here are a few we thought were particularly worth mentioning:

  • Women are participating directly in the implementation of peace agreements, thanks to support from LWBC and its partners in Colombia.
  • As the pandemic continues to take its toll, the spotlight must more than ever be on the rights to health and reparation of the victims of the cholera epidemic in Haiti—caused by the United Nations, infecting nearly one million people, and resulting in 10,000–50,000 deaths. On the subject, LWBC published a study that showed the feasibility of providing assistance on an individual basis to the victims affected by the epidemic.
  • In the area of sexual and reproductive rights, LWBC helped partners in Honduras win court cases against the criminalization of abortion.
  • In the fight against human trafficking, LWBC facilitated cross-border cooperation in Central America to respond to the problem, which affects countries as far as Canada. Thanks to these joint efforts, victims were able to escape the clutches of criminal groups and return to their family in their home country.
  • LWBC continued to support Indigenous students pursue a career as a lawyer to ultimately achieve better protection and more respect for the rights of indigenous communities in Guatemala.

Mission Complete for Two Major Projects

This year also saw the end of two five-year-long LWBC projects.

The first of these is the JUPREC project on justice, prevention and reconciliation in Mali, implemented by LWBC in partnership with Canada-based Centre for International Studies and Cooperation (CECI) and the University of Public Administration (ENAP).

The final assessment of the project showed that it had effectively contributed to reconciliation and peace in Mali. Through social dialogue, activities allowing beneficiaries to embrace human rights and gender equality, heightened access to justice, and support for the implementation of transitional justice mechanisms, the project contributed to preventing violence, reducing tensions, and fighting the spread of terrorism in Mali, regionally, and globally.

Over time, the JUPREC project took on a prominent position in Mali, where it will leave a tangible and durable legacy. In addition, for the second edition of the Paris Peace Forum in November 2019, the JUPREC project was chosen among 700 other submissions from 115 countries as an example of innovative solutions for advancing peace and security. LWBC has a long-term commitment to progress in Mali and will therefore continue its work through other projects.

The second project, PRODEF, on the Protection of the Rights of Children, Women, and Other Vulnerable Communities, implemented by LWBC in partnership with the International Bureau for Children’s Rights (IBCR), ended on March 31, 2020.

LWBC volunteers actively contributed to obtaining impactful rulings, sometimes even historic, in emblematic cases on war crimes and crimes against humanity, civilian massacres, sexual and gender-based violence, enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, torture, discrimination, and corruption.

Voluntary cooperation is part of LWBC’s DNA. This means that despite PRODEF coming to an end, voluntary cooperation is still part of each and every one of our projects, providing assistance to our partners in all of our countries of intervention.

Working Together on Meaningful Commitments

It is thanks to the support of hundreds of people and organizations—staff members, partners, volunteers, allies—that we were able to achieve such remarkable results throughout 2019–2020. We extend our warmest thanks to all those involved. It is also thanks to these people and organizations that we’ll be continuing to strive to uphold the rule of law, promote justice, protect human rights and individual freedoms, defend equality, and develop international cooperation. We demonstrated commitment before the pandemic, stayed committed during the pandemic, and will remain committed after the pandemic.

No crisis can undermine the fundamental nature of any human right. For that reason, our work is and will always be “without borders”.

 

Miguel Baz – Chair of LWBC’s Board of Directors

Pascal Paradis – Executive Director

Miguel Baz – Chair of LWBC’s Board of Directors

Pascal Paradis – Executive Director

LWBC in Figures

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