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Welcome to the Vance Center eNotes, where you can read about our organization's latest news and developments.

Nov 2013

Environment Program Celebrates Publication of Report

The public release on November 20th  of a report entitled“Regulatory Best Practices for Remediation of Legacy Toxic Contamination” represents a milestone in the collaboration between the Vance Center, the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution (GAHP), and Vance Center pro bono client The Blacksmith Institute.

The report studies environmental remediation laws and regulations in seven Latin American countries and the United States and identifies legal provisions that effectively promote the cleanup of contaminated sites. The report identifies regulatory best practices and distills them into six governing principles to guide cleanup and management of toxic sites across Latin America.

From Left to Right: Vance Center Committee member Jeffrey Gracer, Vance Center Staff Attorney Clea Bowdery, and Blacksmith Institute Senior Program Director Bret Ericson


With the assistance of coordinating counsel in the United States and pro bono partner organizations, including Fundación Pro Bono Chile and Fundación Pro Bono Colombia, the Vance Center brought together a team of lawyers from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay to provide detailed analysis of relevant laws, regulations, and procedures in their respective countries. Coordinating counsel and Vance Center staff together drafted the report based on this analysis, with continued input from the Latin American law firms, Blacksmith staff members, and government officials from the environmental agencies of various countries.

The report will support ongoing efforts by GAHP and Blacksmith to address the public health threat posed by toxic contamination and we hope that it will provide helpful insights to decision-makers throughout Latin America seeking who ultimately have the power and authority to improve remediation of dangerous sites in the region.


Vance Center to Host Conference on Transitional Justice in Brazil


The Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice (Vance Center), together with the Instituto de Estudos da Religião (ISER), a Brazilian research institute that promotes the search for truth about human rights violations fights impunity and state violence, and strengthens civil society's participation in transitional justice, will host a conference on Transitional Justice in Brazil: Measuring Progress and Confronting Challenges on December 2nd, 2013 at the New York City Bar.

This conference will bring together Brazilian and other international experts to reflect on Brazil’s current transitional justice initiatives in light of best practices and international standards, and to consider how Brazil can continue to move forward in addressing its past human rights violations to create a more just future. Please click here to learn more about the conference and how to RSVP.


New Law Firms Sign on to Pro Bono Declaration for the Americas


The Vance Center is please to announce that three new law firms have signed onto the Pro Bono Declaration of the Americas. Headrick, Rizick Alvarez & Fernandez (36 attorneys) and Lic. Jorge A. Lopez Hilario Abogados Consultores (5 attorneys) from the Dominican Republic, and Lazo, De Romana & Gagluiffi (28 attorneys), from Peru, have joined the extensive list of signatories who are dedicating themselves to pro bono service.

For a complete list of signatories of the Pro Bono Declaration of the Americas, please click here.



Vance Center's Annual Appeal

As many non-profit organizations do at this time of year, the Vance Center is issuing an annual appeal asking individuals for donations so we may continue our work.

This year, our appeal features the delegation to Guatemala which the Vance Center organized with the New York City Bar Association to assess the impact of the rule of law in Guatemala from the ongoing prosecution of General Jose Efrain Rios Montt for war crimes committed against Guatemala's Maya Ixil indigenous population.

Click here to read our annual appeal letter and learn how to become involved with the Vance Center.