Too many individuals and groups around the world today are denied access to justice. Such access is vital for making human rights effective and securing human dignity. Especially those in a situation of vulnerability – such as women, children, minorities, migrants or detainees – face excessive impediments and difficulties in claiming their rights and accessing justice. They are often even unaware of the possibility of enforcing their rights internationally.
For these reasons, Just Access intends to provide legal assistance and representation for victims of human rights abuses, as well as to counter injustice through legal action. Our organisation specialises in the field of public international law, so that legal action will be carried out mainly at the international level, before human rights treaty bodies. One of the main aims of Just Access is to help protecting and enforcing the rights contained in international treaties.
By enforcing the rights of the victims, Just Access also intends to expose and highlight situations of structural injustice. Therefore, through individual and collective legal action, we will seek to use and create remedies that address structural situations of human rights infringements. Thus, the objective is to be able to change patterns of systemic abuses and improve the implementation of human rights standards in the relevant legal orders. We seek justice not only for some individuals directly affected by human rights violations, but for all those in similar circumstances. One way to achieve this is to initiate and develop strategic litigation that allows holding state actors accountable for their human rights infringements.
Our volunteers from the legal profession work to defend the rights of vulnerable and marginalised individuals and groups, in particular their right to an equal and non-discriminatory access to impartial justice. For this purpose, we also focus on the independence of the judiciary worldwide. Just Access intends to empower vulnerable groups by increasing their knowledge of international law and international justice, as well as by providing them with information about access to courts and other bodies.
Just Access fulfills these objectives through different means, such as international and domestic litigation, development of legal strategies, legal research and training, as well as cooperation with international bodies and non-governmental organisations. Our main form of engagement is through legal action before international bodies, such as the UN Human Rights Council and other UN treaty bodies and special procedures, as well as before regional human rights courts. Just Access assists and represents victims of human rights violations before these bodies free of charge. In this regard, we focus especially on the most vulnerable and disempowered victims, as well as on those cases that reveal wide-spread problems that lead to systemic human rights abuses in the corresponding state.
Another potential field for legal action are domestic courts, as it is necessary to hold accountable not only state actors, but also individual perpetrators of human rights abuses. In order to bring these individuals before justice, we will resort to the domestic criminal law systems of their home states or third states that allow for universal jurisdiction.
Another mechanism by which Just Access intends to improve the protection and enforcement of human rights around the world is legal research and investigation. In this respect, we write legal opinions concerning ongoing cases before international bodies or in relation to state reports by UN treaty bodies. For this purpose, our organisation will apply for special consultative status before the ECOSOC.
Finally, the last axis of our work concerns legal training and education, especially for individuals and communities who lack access to educational resources. Such legal training and education is focused on international law and access to international justice, and it is directed both at legal professionals and the general public. We organise seminars and conferences for human rights activists, legal practitioners, potential victims and students in order for them to gain the knowledge about their rights and their enforcement at the international level. For the same reason, Just Access cooperates with other NGOs, as well as with academic institutions and international legal bodies.