The COVID-19 pandemic is threatening the world’s most vulnerable populations, including millions of people held in jails and prisons around the world. We're fighting to protect their rights and get them home safely.
Strategic Litigation & Petitions for Mass Release
COVID-19 is causing court closures and case delays. To fast-track getting people home, we are taking cases to Supreme Courts to set new precedents for release and filing mass release motions for vulnerable groups like women, children, the elderly, and people with underlying health conditions.
In Nepal, our partners at PDS-Nepal won a Supreme Court decision on April 26, 2020 underscoring that in order to protect children’s rights to life and health, juveniles in correctional facilities must be eligible for resentencing and release to parental custody. The Court reminded the justice sector that “it shall be the responsibility of everyone to instantly help children whose lives are at risk.” Read more here.
Fighting Case by Case
We continue to fight for the release of our clients on a case-by-case basis. We are filing release motions daily, prioritizing our clients who are most vulnerable to infection.
In Tunisia, Nepal, and Afghanistan, we are some of the only lawyers still providing criminal defense services during the pandemic. In just one week, we took more than 100 new cases in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Guidance for Legal Aid Providers to Protect Health and Human Rights of Detainees:
Letter to Relevant Afghan Authorities on COVID-19 Justice Sector Response:
Letter to the President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar:
Letter to the President of the Republic of Tunisia:
Letter to the Minister of Justice and the President of the Supreme Judicial Council in Tunisia:
Appeal from Human Rights Groups and Legal Aid Providers to Protect At-Risk Detainees in Nepal:
The ILF will continue to serve as a resource for the international legal aid community. If you have questions about these resources or COVID-19 responses in the justice sector, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coup in Myanmar
In February 2021, a military coup in Myanmar changed the lives of Burmese citizens. The political climate bred conflict and violence. These conditions created legal challenges for people in contact with the law.
Providing Holistic Legal Aid
In addition to continuing critical legal representation following the February 2021 coup, the ILF team stepped in to ensure detainees could access basic needs, including food, medicines, PPE supplies, sanitary kits, and other necessities. Our teams have worked through difficult conditions, including blackouts and have traveled far and wide to reach people in prisons all over the country despite the risks to their well-being.