Newsletter of the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice
November 2011
In This Issue
Pro Bono Network
IABA Award
SAVLP Program
Atala Amicus Brief
Pro Bono in Paraguay
Spotlight on ProVene
About the Cyrus Vance Center   

The Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice of the New York City Bar mobilizes the global legal profession to engage in activities that promote social justice, human rights and democratic values and principles. We perform our work in partnership with private- and public-sector lawyers, members of the judiciary, law schools, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in the regions where we work.



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Launch of Pro Bono Network

bogota launch jpg 

We are pleased to announce the launch of a new project, the International Pro Bono Network (the "Network"), the purpose of which is to engage lawyers across the Americas in important access to justice and human rights issues (www.ipbnetwork.org).   Recently launched in Bogotá, Washington, DC, and New York, the Network is a joint project of the Vance Center and Fundación Pro Bono Chile that mobilizes attorneys and pro bono clearinghouses in the service of high impact public-interest cases. To date, 13 countries across the Americas are participating in the Network. The Network will initially focus on projects in the areas of access to justice, due process of law, defense of human rights advocates, and children's rights.


Vance Center Receives IABA Access to Justice Award

The Inter-American Bar Association ("IABA") presented the Vance Center with its prestigious Access to Justice Award at the IABA's 47th Annual Conference, which took place in Vera Cruz, Mexico, on June 28-July 2. The award recognized the Vance Center for its contributions to furthering justice for the poor in the Americas. Vance Center Committee Vice-Chair and former Chair, Antonia Stolper, a partner at Shearman & Sterling, accepted the award on the Center's behalf. The IABA's Access to Justice Award was instituted in 1997 as a means of honoring a person or institution that has distinguished itself through its efforts to expand opportunities for marginalized sectors of the population to obtain access to the judicial system.   Past recipients include the Central American Court of Justice and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.


South African Visiting Lawyers Program


This year marks the completion of the tenth year of our South African Visiting Lawyers Program, which has recruited 37 young South African lawyers to intern at New York law firms and legal departments since 2002. Three South African lawyers will participate in the 2011-12 program: Ndumiso Dyantyi, of Lowndes Dlamini Attorneys, will be at Skadden Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; Zanele Moloi, of Bowman Gilfillan, will be at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe; and Amit Parekh, also of Bowman Gilfillan, will be at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.

SAVLP class 2011-12


Shown at left: 2010-2011 SAVLP participants Siphile Buthelezi, Rorisang Mongoato and Thabang Masingi.


Atala Amicus Curiae Brief



The Vance Center coordinated the submission of an amicus brief to the Inter-American Court on Human Rights in the important matter of Karen Atala v. Chile, the first case regarding sexual orientation to be heard by that court. In 2004 the Supreme Court of Chile forced Karen Atala, a judge, to cede custody of her three daughters to her ex-husband on the ground that her sexual orientation made her an unfit parent. The amicus brief opposing the Chilean decision was prepared by Morrison & Foerster LLP and filed on behalf of the the New York City Bar Association and 15 other organizations.

PBDA: New Signatories in Paraguay


We are pleased to announce the following new Paraguayan signatories to the PBDA: Vouga & Olmedo Asociados; Appleyard & Asociados; Capurro y Asociados; RMG Abogados; Barreto y Asociados; GG Abogados; Oscar Paciello & Asociados; Callizo & Filártiga Abogados/Consultores; and Rodriguez & Asociados.  We also congratulate CIDSEP on the launch of their new pro bono initiative, a joint program with the Paraguayan Bar Association. Click here for more information on CIDSEP.

Spotlight: Pro Bono Venezuela Foundation ("ProVene")  


Diego (whose name has been changed to protect his identity), a thirteen year old boy living in a barrio of Caracas, was denied permission to attend public school for lack of a legal identification card. His mother had been murdered by his father, who was now incarcerated, and Diego was residing with an aunt who had been designated as his legal representative. The local authority in charge of issuing legal identification cards mistakenly refused to issue one to Diego alleging that minors could only be represented by their parents. Thanks to pro bono representation facilitated by ProVene, Diego was able to obtain his identification card and enroll in school.  The Vance Center is assisting ProVene to engage Venezuelan law firms in its work. Click here for more information on ProVene.