Other Group

International Centre for the Legal Protection of Human Rights (INTERIGHTS)

Website:

www.interights.org/

Founded:

1982 [18]

Closed:

2014 [19]

The International Centre for the Legal Protection of Human Rights, better known as INTERIGHTS, was a London-based human rights legal organization established in 1982. The organization closed in 2014. [1]

Two of the primary funders of the organization were the Ford Foundation and the George Soros-backed Open Society Foundations, both known for financing left-of-center causes in the United States.

Background

The International Centre for the Legal Protection of Human Rights was an international legal organization that focused on human rights established in 1982. The organization was better known as INTERIGHTS. [2] The organization shutdown in 2014. [3]

INTERIGHTS provided leadership and support in the legal protections of human rights around the world. The organization also contributed to what it called “the development of a cumulative and progressive interpretation of international human rights law.” [4]

INTERIGHTS would help judges, lawyers, non-governmental organizations, and victims of human rights abuses with advice and resources on international and comparative human rights law in national, regional and international courts and tribunals. [5]

The organization maintained an International Human Rights Case Law Databases with summaries of significant cases from international and regional courts and the domestic courts of countries in the Commonwealth of Nations. [6]

Connections to American Left-of-Center Groups

The Ford Foundation and the George Soros-backed Open Society Foundations were among the primary financial backers of INTERIGHTS, starting in the 1990s when both funders became more interested in financially supporting public interest law on an international level. [7]

Steve Kostas, now a legal officer with the Open Society Justice Initiative, part of the Open Society Foundations, previously worked at INTERIGHTS on counter-terrorism and national security cases. [8]

Moni Shrestha is the senior portfolio analyst at Human Rights Initiative for the Open Society Foundations. She is formerly a program support officer at INTERIGHTS, and worked with legal teams for South Asia, Africa, Equality and Non-Discrimination, Security and the Rule of Law, and the Legal Director. [9]

History

Barrister Anthony Lester founded INTERIGHTS. Lester was educated at both Cambridge University and Harvard Law School. He previously worked for Amnesty International in the United States in the 1960s. He joined the bar in 1976 and argued human rights cases before the English, European, and Commonwealth nations’ courts. [10]

Lester said upon founding INTERIGHTS: “My vision for INTERIGHTS grew out of my experiences in the 1960s. Thanks to my studies at Harvard Law School and the research I carried out for Amnesty International on justice in the American South during the long hot summer of 1964, I came to understand the valuable role that international and comparative law, and more specifically litigation, could play in bringing about progressive change.” [11]

Upon its founding INTERIGHTS described itself as “the only law centre concerned exclusively with the practical application of international and human rights law in national, regional and international courts and tribunals.” [12]

INTERIGHTS had a small team of on-staff lawyers but used a broad network of volunteers including law students, lawyers, and legal academics across Europe. [13]

The organization got involved in cases it determined would develop a greater understanding of human rights beyond the particular cases. The organization said it measured its effectiveness less by the volume of litigation or cases won, but more on the impact its legal work had on clients, other victims beyond those involved in the case, and the potential to improve human rights standards and protections. To accomplish this mission, the organization said it had to have careful selection of cases. [14]

Closure

INTERIGHTS closed because it could not retain funding to continue its work. The organization said in had significant downsizing as a cost-cutting measure to try to keep the doors open, but ultimately had no choice to close. [15]

The organization counted as its past successes challenging slavery in Niger and pushing the African Commission to set standards for countries in the continent to ensure all detentions were lawful. The organization also noted its work to protect ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, and people who were harassed or discriminated because of their sexual orientation or gender. [16]

As the organization was closing, it announced that staffers would seek other lawyers and nonprofits to take up their causes. [17]

References

  1.  INTERIGHTS. Union of International Associations. Accessed September 29, 2022. https://uia.org/s/or/en/1100050813 ^
  2. INTERIGHTS. University of Toronto Law Library. Accessed September 29, 2022. https://library.law.utoronto.ca/corporate-author/interights ^
  3. INTERIGHTS. Union of International Associations. Accessed September 29, 2022. https://uia.org/s/or/en/1100050813 ^
  4. INTERIGHTS. Union of International Associations. Accessed September 29, 2022. https://uia.org/s/or/en/1100050813 ^
  5.  INTERIGHTS. University of Toronto Law Library. Accessed September 29, 2022. https://library.law.utoronto.ca/corporate-author/interights ^
  6. INTERIGHTS. University of Toronto Law Library. Accessed September 29, 2022. https://library.law.utoronto.ca/corporate-author/interights ^
  7. Khadar, Lamin. “Expanding Access to Justice An exploration of large firm pro bono practice across Europe.” European University Institute Department of Law. May 24, 2019. Accessed September 30, 2022. https://cadmus.eui.eu/bitstream/handle/1814/63004/Khadar_2019_LAW.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y ^
  8. “Global Human Rights Litigation.” Open Society Justice Initiative. October 2013. Accessed September 30, 2022. https://www.refworld.org/pdfid/52fb35414.pdf ^
  9. Moni Shrestha. LinkedIn. Accessed September 30, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/moni-shrestha-10849697/?originalSubdomain=uk ^
  10. Khadar, Lamin. “Expanding Access to Justice An exploration of large firm pro bono practice across Europe.” European University Institute Department of Law. May 24, 2019. Accessed September 30, 2022. https://cadmus.eui.eu/bitstream/handle/1814/63004/Khadar_2019_LAW.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y ^
  11. Khadar, Lamin. “Expanding Access to Justice An exploration of large firm pro bono practice across Europe.” European University Institute Department of Law. May 24, 2019. Accessed September 30, 2022. https://cadmus.eui.eu/bitstream/handle/1814/63004/Khadar_2019_LAW.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y ^
  12. Khadar, Lamin. “Expanding Access to Justice An exploration of large firm pro bono practice across Europe.” European University Institute Department of Law. May 24, 2019. Accessed September 30, 2022. https://cadmus.eui.eu/bitstream/handle/1814/63004/Khadar_2019_LAW.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y ^
  13.  Khadar, Lamin. “Expanding Access to Justice An exploration of large firm pro bono practice across Europe.” European University Institute Department of Law. May 24, 2019. Accessed September 30, 2022. https://cadmus.eui.eu/bitstream/handle/1814/63004/Khadar_2019_LAW.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y ^
  14. INTERIGHTS. Dev Ex. Accessed September 29, 2022. https://www.devex.com/organizations/international-centre-for-the-legal-protection-of-human-rights-64390 ^
  15. Home Page. INTERIGHTS. Accessed September 29, 2022. https://interights.org/ ^
  16.  Home Page. INTERIGHTS. Accessed September 29, 2022. https://interights.org/ ^
  17. Home Page. INTERIGHTS. Accessed September 29, 2022. https://interights.org/ ^
  18. INTERIGHTS. Union of International Associations. Accessed September 29, 2022. https://uia.org/s/or/en/1100050813 ^
  19. INTERIGHTS. Union of International Associations. Accessed September 29, 2022. https://uia.org/s/or/en/1100050813 ^
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