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The Vance Center provides pro bono legal advice and support to non-governmental organizations active worldwide. Our advice takes several forms, as shown by examples of specific cases in 2013:

Identification of "best practices" across a range of countries in an area of law or policy

  • How some Latin American nations have developed effective laws to remediate contaminated sites that can serve as models throughout the region
  • How indigenous people and natural resources developers have collaborated successfully on accommodating each other's rights and interests

Analysis of compliance with international treaties by countries that signed them

Amicus curiae representation before national, regional, and international tribunals

  • A free-press defense against a criminal defamation action before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

Training on enforcing human rights and protections

  • How private lawyers can represent pro bono petitioners before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
  • How judges and other officials in Haiti can implement the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. (Read more here)

Proposals for legislative reform

  • A convention on the rights of older persons in the Americas
  • A model freedom-of-information law for West Africa



The Vance Center also provides legal support to international human rights agencies, including:

  • The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
  • The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People
  • The United Nations Committee Against Torture
  • The United Nations Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary
  • The United Nations Independent Expert on Human Rights and the Environment