INTERNATIONAL BRIDGES TO JUSTICE

Rating: 4.75 stars   16 reviews

Issues: Civil Rights, International, Crime & Law

Location: 198 Tremont St # 447 Boston MA 02116 USA

Mission: In recognition of the fundamental principles of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Bridges to Justice, as a non-government and non-profit organization, is dedicated to ensuring the basic legal rights of ordinary citizens in Asia. Specifically, IBJ works to guarantee the rights of all citizens to competent legal representation, to be protected from cruel and unusual punishment, and to a fair trial. To this end, IBJ works to support and enhance governmental legal efforts in Asia to protect citizen rights and implement existing criminal laws through providing training partnerships, legal and administrative structural support and material assistance.
2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

I worked with IBJ for several months, and had the privilege of witnessing its dedicated staff respond to emergency legal rights infringements as well as develop clear long-term strategies to ensure the organization's survival and impact. Both tasks were done with incredible talent and compassion, and while the staff worked very long hours to serve their large base of clients and fellows, I never heard a complaint or even a sigh. Perhaps even more telling of the staff's strength was the organization's ability to customize its relationship with clients and fellows in each of its target countries (more than 9) and provide legal, training, and campaign solutions that effectively served each. IBJ has a very special place in my heart, and I hope it continues to challenge people's stuck notions of what a small organization is capable of achieving! I am indebted to IBJ for making me believe in the impossible.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

successful awareness-raising campaigns, fundraising, implementation of effective legal training, significant reduction of torture as an investigative tool.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

hire more full-time employees or establish more training partnerships to help the organization respond even more effectively to the need for legal rights implementation.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I joined the Board of International Bridges to Justice because of the work it does on behalf of the poor and the unfortunate. People who often are thrown into prison for no reason, other than they failed to pay a bribe, and are kept there for years without being charged or cared for. In fact many are tortured. IBJ brings legal assistance to these people. the work with governments to gain entry and therefore are collaborators rather than adversaries. This is truly a peace bringing and peace making organization. The founder and CEO is a visionary who works tirelessly all over the world to gain access with her teams of lawyers and legal workers.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

in viewing the cases and successes Karen and her staff have had in setting captives free.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Add offices at other strategic locations around the world like in Africa and China

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Rating: 4 stars  

I volunteered with IBJ for two months in their headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. While there, I primarily worked on developing training materials for criminal defense lawyers in several Indian states. The organization works to improve the quality of representation available to criminal defendants in developing countries who cannot afford to hire lawyers. Their method is to recruit promising attorneys from the local community as fellows who then go out and train other attorneys in best practices in criminal defense work. The mission should be incredibly important to anyone concerned about human rights and anyone who appreciates the importance of affording accused persons adequate representation. Methodologically, IBJ has chosen the right approach: their programs focus on working with local legal services networks and capitalizing on the expertise of the attorneys there rather than imposing any pre-fabricated program that does not take account of local variations. The group's emphasis on the fellows as the primary engines of reform and activism is a key part of their success and of their organizational philosophy.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The results of the training program demonstrated to me the importance of the work that IBJ is doing. The training program clearly galvanized local attorneys to become involved in pro-bono criminal defense work, which is an incredibly important service in a country that does not have a robust public defender system.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would encourage them to frame a clear set of interim goals in the areas where they are working and to think in terms of what external effect they hope to accomplish beyond raising the number of training sessions. The group has a very strong sense of ultimate purpose, and that purpose will be even better served if they remain focused on concrete goals that lead toward whatever long-term institutional changes they hope to achieve.

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Rating: 4 stars  

The organisation seeks to end the use of torture as an investigative tool through the provision of legal representation.

I was assisting with the JusticeMakers programme, which is an online competition for individuals to submit legal rights project applications and the winner receiving funding to implement their idea. During my internship I was able to help human rights activists from across Africa and Asia. I really enjoyed the opportunity to interact with those working in the field and learning first hand of the problems they must deal with.

Working as an intern at IBJ was an interesting and invaluable experience.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

working with and meeting in person the JusticeMakers competition winners. Hearing first hand their experiences of the injustices they encounter was informative but also inspiring.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

...not!

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Rating: 5 stars  

International Bridges to Justice is a remarkable organisation,run by people with values and passion to ensure that the basic legal rights of all people are protected.

The strategy adopted by the organisation in order to achieve this aim is something that makes IBJ different to other non-profit organisations. The focus on training public defenders to enhance their skills and ability to defend detainees that are facing grave violations of their human rights, is what makes the work of IBJ shift from a bare ideology to sustainable change.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

personally witnessing the direct link between IBJ's work of training public defenders, and the latters' success in representing victims of human rights abuses.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

increase its global presence by expanding its funding and size.

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

IBJ is a small organization that gets big results for its efforts. Its ultimate aim is simple: end torture worldwide. It has programs in some of the most challenging countries in the world in terms of torture: China, Zimbabwe Rwanda, India. And rather than focus on high profile political torture cases, it instead works to stop the countless cases of torture perpetrated against ordinary defendants caught up in the criminal justice system. But for IBJ, these untold thousands of poor individuals would be forgotten.

Another strong point of the organization is its cost effectiveness. The staff is lean, and it posts high quality training materials on its website for lawyers around the world to access. In its in-country programs, it works through carefully selected local advocates, and also is careful to build support from within the host governments. This is not easy, but somehow IBJ has a great track record doing it.

Having seen many "rule of law" NGOs operate throughout the world, I have witnessed many programs succeed and fail. IBJ stands out among these due to its focus, the commitment of its team, and the results it is getting under very challenging circumstances. A visit to its website is time well spent.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have worked in Cambodia since 2003, and maintain relations with many public interest lawyers there. I have heard them report that local judges in the Cambodian provinces specifically say that they really rely on the IBJ field lawyers to provide proper legal counsel and protection to indigent clients who otherwise would be caught up in the abuses of the criminal justice system.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would propose that IBJ direct its efforts to many more countries.

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