CCHR Assistant Director Sean O’Brien has been named a founding member of the National Lawyer’s Committee for Human Rights (NLCHR). The new body, comprised of human rights lawyers and academics from across the United States, will serve as an advisory committee to Peace Brigades International-USA. “It is a privilege to serve as a founding member of the NLCHR,” says Prof. O’Brien. “I hope our work will increase solidarity among human rights defenders, lawyers and law students as together we seek to alleviate the systemic and institutional factors that place human rights defenders at risk.”
The NLCHR’s mission is to support lawyers and other human rights activists whose lives are in danger due to their efforts to promote and protect human rights and challenge human rights violations committed in their countries. In Colombia alone, up to 25 lawyers are killed each year.
For almost 30 years Peace Brigades International (PBI) has been sending highly trained teams of international human rights observers into areas of severe conflict and repression at the request of local organizers to protect human rights defenders (HRDs) and communities threatened with political, economic and cultural violence. PBI’s mission is to open political space for peace and non-violent conflict resolution. In this way, PBI contributes to the development of a culture of peace, justice and respect for human rights. The fundamental principles of PBI are non-violence, non-partisanship and non-interference. PBI is an international non-profit organization that is headquartered in London and currently includes Projects in five countries—Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, Nepal and Indonesia—with the possibility of moving into Africa in the next few years.
The NLCHR initiative has been endorsed by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Gabriela Knaul, who has said, “I believe that this network is a valuable resource to the global legal community.”