The ILF’s Advocacy program works on two levels: the country level and the international level to promote and protect the rights of poor persons accused of crimes. It also aims to redress the historic imbalance in criminal justice systems by advocating for greater financial parity between all three branches: the judiciary, law enforcement and defense. Through its Advocacy program, the ILF provides a crucial voice for the millions of poor people across the world who are accused of crimes and who lack access to effective legal representation.

The core objectives of the program are:

  1. Advocating that governments, particularly those emerging from conflicts, take responsibility for providing meaningful criminal defense services to the poor and persuading donors to provide financial assistance to developing nations so they have the ability to meet this obligation.
  2. Promoting the fundamental fair trial rights of indigent accused persons, including the right to counsel, the presumption of innocence, the right to be informed promptly of any criminal charge, and the right to adequate time and resources to prepare a defense.
The ILF works to achieve these objectives through a combination of sustained advocacy, providing technical guidance and assistance, building collaborative networks and conducting campaigns. Examples of our recent advocacy activities include:

  1. Providing expert advice and input to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime on the draft, “UN Principles and Guidelines on Access to Legal Aid in Criminal Justice Systems.”
  2. Offering guidance to the World Bank on its approach to justice reform, urging it to allocate more resources for criminal defense services for the poor.
  3. Launching a campaign to bring attention to the problematic prosecution of children as adults in post-conflict countries because they lack documentation proving their age.
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