Events | 15.05.2023

2023 Rule of Law Webathon - May 15-19, 2023

Our pledge to the Rule of Law inspires us to celebrate and defend it in every corner of the world. Join us and the global community of legal professionals as we explore, analyze, and present perspectives on this year’s theme of “Upholding the Rule of Law in Challenging Times.”

Organized by:
American Bar Association International Law Section (ABA ILS);
AIJA - International Association of Young Lawyers, Human Rights Committee;
Inter-American Bar Association (IABA);
UIA –IROL, International Association of Lawyers, Institute for the Rule of Law


Economic Crisis and Rebuilding: Investing in the Rule of Law

12:00 GMT // 14:00 CEST // 8:00 EDT

Watch the video here

Hosted by: International Association of Young Lawyers (AIJA)

Economic crisis can have detrimental impacts on human rights protections and social solidarity. The pandemic has demonstrated that an economic crisis can hit unexpectedly, indistinctly, and unequally. We must invest in the rule of law for economic recovery efforts to successfully build back better for the long-term and to be more resilient to future economic shocks. This session will look at how rule of law-affirming approaches are advancing sustainable economic prosperity, social inclusion, access to justice, and protection of human rights even during economic uncertainty and rebuilding.

Program Chair:
Clara Poglia, Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd, Switzerland

Monisha Cheong, WongPartnership LLP, Singapore
Khushboo Shahdadpuri, Al Tamimi & Company, Singapore
Neuza Melao Dias, FBL Advogados, Angola
Georgios Fasfalis, Linklaters, Netherlands

Environment, Conflicts, and Climate Change: Resilient Rule of Law

@ 14:00 GMT // 16:00 CEST // 10:00AM EDT

Watch video here

Hosted by: Inter-American Bar Association (IABA)
Environmental degradation and competition over scarce natural resources can directly cause and exacerbate the root causes of social conflicts and wars, driving greater environmental damage and undermining prospects for peace. These forces can also threaten our societal infrastructures and violate basic human rights, such as the right to clean air and water, adequate nutritious food, a healthy environment, and a stable global climate. This panel will reflect on how the rule of law is an essential component of good environmental governance. Our panelists will discuss human rights and environmental due diligence, access to effective remedies, and conflict prevention and peacebuilding.

Program Chair/Moderator:
Lourdes Venes – Secretary General, IABA
Lizzette Robleto de Howarth – IAB Senior Member

Keynote Speaker:
Gabriela Ramos – Assistant Director-General, UNESCO, She will be delivering a recorded message focusing on AI, human rights, the environment, and climate change.

María Sofía Sagües
Daniel Sumalavia – Amazon Sustainable Landscapes Program gender specialist World Bank Group
Julian Newman – Campaigns Director, Environmental Investigation Agency
Thomas O’Keefe – President, Mercosur Consulting Group
David Sullivan – U.S. National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (on Responsible Business Conduct), and Senior Advisor on Corporate Social Responsibility, Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, U.S. Department of State



Surveillance Spyware Technologies Raise Alarm Bells

@ 13:00 GMT // 15:00 CEST // 9:00AM EDT


Hosted by: International Association of Lawyers (UIA)
Surveillance spyware technologies are gaining popularity around the world to support countering terrorism and crime. Yet, surveillance spyware is raising alarm bells due to the misuse and abuse of these technologies. Abusive and illegitimate surveillance by governments has been used to target journalists, human rights defenders, lawyers, and politicians. Our panel of legal professionals and experts will discuss the emergent legal challenges and will offer their perspectives on future directions to help ensure that these technologies are used in a manner consistent with their intended purpose, while upholding human rights, accountability, transparency, and the rule of law.

Opening remarks:
Jacqueline R. Scott – President-Elect of UIA, Fortney & Scott, LLC, Washington DC, United-States

Grant Davis-Denny – President of the UIA Privacy and Rights of the Digital Person Commission, Munger, Tolles & Olson, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Siena Anstis – Senior Legal Advisor at the Citizen Lab (Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy,University of Toronto), Canada
Antoine Bernard – Director of Advocacy and Litigation, Reporters without Borders, France
Ian De Freitas – UIA Director of Commissions; Lead of the Data, IP and Technology Disputes team, Farrer & Co, London, United Kingdom
Sofía Jaramillo Otoya – Senior Staff Attorney for civic space, International Advocacy & Litigation, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights


Upholding the Rule of Law in Times of Armed Conflict: Acting in the Present, Preparing for the Future

Tuesday, May 16 @ 16:00 GMT // 18:00 CEST // 12:00PM EDT


Hosted by: International Association of Lawyers (UIA)
Over the past years, armed conflicts and violence worldwide have increased, creating extensive humanitarian emergencies and straining regional and global responses to worsening security situations. In most cases, serious violations of international law are reportedly committed. As Russia’s war on Ukraine has demonstrated, effectively addressing both State and individual criminal responsibility in such cases requires a deep understanding of the complex international law issues, including mechanisms for accountability. Panelists will discuss how the rule of law is an essential pillar and necessary to prevent, repress, and redress serious violations of human rights law and grave breaches of international law, including war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, and the crime of aggression, all with the goal of ensuring peace and security.

Julie Goffin – Director of Protection of Lawyers, UIA Institute for the Rule of Law (UIA-IROL), Alter Egaux Avocats, Brussels, Belgium

Caroline Buisman – Senior Legal Officer at United Nations, Netherlands
Clara Gérard-Rodriguez – FTMS Avocats, Paris, France
Avninder Singh – Deputy Director General of the UIA-IROL; Cicero Chambers, New Delhi, India
Professor Paweł Wiliński – Chairman of the Foundation Sunflowers Council, Judge of the Criminal Chamber of the Polish Supreme Court, Poland



Combatting Human Trafficking and Modern-Day Slavery through the Rule of Law

@ 15:00 GMT // 17:00 CEST // 11:00AM EDT

Video pending

Hosted by: Inter-American Bar Association (IABA)
A strong rule of law system is crucial for combatting and eradicating forced labor, modern-day slavery, and human trafficking. According to the International Labour Organization, almost 50 million people were the victims of such exploitation in 2021. Panelists will discuss efforts being taken by the legal community to strengthen global, national, and local norms and institutional capacities to combat these crimes, end impunity, and get justice for victims. Learn how lawyers are working with clients on ending these practices in global supply chains and how you can become involved in initiatives of bar associations and other organizations to help in this fight through prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnerships.

Program Chair/Moderator:
Lourdes Venes – Secretary General, IABA
Lizzette Robleto de Howarth – IAB Senior Member

Keynote Speaker:
Mr. Tsun-Ping Shih – Section Chief, Anti-Human Trafficking Section, National Immigration Agency, Ministry of the Interior, Executive Yuan, Taiwan

Gillian Rivers – Partner at Pennington Manches
Marina Gales – Commissio de Donnas, Barcelona Bar Association
Eric Biel, Professor – Georgetown University Law Center
Rory Oake – Consultant Ardea International

Counterterrorism, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law

@ 17:00 GMT // 19:00 CEST // 1:00PM EDT


Hosted by: American Bar Association International Law Section (ABA ILS) and International Commission of Jurists 
Counterterrorism measures and the promotion of human rights do not conflict, but are complementary and mutually reinforcing goals. Yet, countries increasingly have been using vague or overly broad counterterrorism and anti-money laundering laws to target human rights defenders and civil society organizations. Join us as we discuss the importance of respecting human rights, the rule of law, and legitimate security imperatives while countering terrorism. Learn about initiatives focused on advancing effective laws, due process safeguards, gender-sensitive approaches, transparency, accountability, and the rule of law.

Program Chair:
Deena Hurwitz, ABA International Law Section Division Chair, Europe/Eurasia/Middle East/Africa

Fionnuala Ni Aolain – UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism; Faculty Director, Human Rights Center, University of Minnesota Law School; Professor of Law, Queen’s University of Belfast, School of Law
Lana Baydas – Program Director, ABA Center for Human Rights; Former Senior Fellow, Human Rights Initiative, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
Naureen Chowdhury Fink – Executive Director, The Soufan Center; Former Senior Policy Adviser on Counterterrorism and Sanctions, United Kingdom’s Mission to the UN
Santiago A. Canton – Secretary General, International Commission of Jurists; Former Executive Secretary, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights


Universal Declaration of Human Rights: 

@ 15:00 GMT // 17:00 CEST // 11:00AM EDT


Hosted by: American Bar Association International Law Section (ABA ILS)
Join us as we celebrate this year’s 75th Anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its influence on the protection of human rights, freedoms, and justice through the rule of law. It is celebrated as the first legal document protecting universal human rights. The Declaration underpins international human rights law, international humanitarian law, international criminal law, international refugee law, and many other areas of international law. Learn how networks of lawyers are helping make the Declaration’s principles a reality and how you can get involved through bar associations and networks of lawyers around the world.

Program Chair/Moderator:
Corinne Lewis, Immediate-past Co-Chair, International Human Rights Committee, ABA ILS

Douglass Cassel – Co-Chair, Business and Human Rights Lawyers Assoc.; Counsel, King & Spalding
Susan Maslow – Chair, Corporate Social Responsibility Law Committee, Business Law Section, ABA
Austin Pierce – Senior Associate, Latham & Watkins, Houston Texas
Beth Stephens – Distinguished Professor of Law, Rutgers Law School Department
David Sullivan – U.S. National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (on Responsible Business Conduct), and Senior Advisor on Corporate Social Responsibility, Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, U.S. Department of State

The Global Impact of U.S. Democracy Under Fire: What Lawyers Can Do

@ 17:00 GMT // 19:00 CEST // 1:00PM EDT

Hosted by: American Bar Association International Law Section (ABA ILS)
Democracy is under siege worldwide. In the U.S., nearly 70% say democracy serves only the wealthy and powerful, and more than 40% foresee civil war within a decade. Similar numbers say “having a strong leader is more important than democracy”! As evidenced most memorably by the U.S. Capitol insurrection, democratic norms are eroding, marked by a crisis of faith in fundamental principles. And, increasingly, allies question whether the U.S. can be relied upon in world affairs; and despots cite U.S. retrenchment to justify their own strongarm rule. Join us to explore the critical role of lawyers in arresting the slide to autocracy.


Showcase Program

Defending Democracy, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law Around the Globe

@ 15:00 GMT // 17:00 CEST // 11:00AM EDT

Conclude this year’s Rule of Law Webathon Week by joining us and the global legal community for this special program jointly organized by our four major associations of international lawyers—American Bar Association International Law Section (ABA ILS); International Association of Young Lawyers, Human Rights Committee (AIJA); Inter-American Bar Association (IABA); and International Association of Lawyers (UIA), Institute for the Rule of Law.
Join us and be inspired to pledge your commitment to defend democracy, human rights, and the rule of law in every corner of the world!

Marcos Ríos - ABA International Law Section Chair

Keynote Speaker:
Ms. Ilze Brands Kehris - Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights and Head, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in New York

Ian McDougal - Executive Vice President & General Counsel - LexisNexis Legal & Professional Global Leadership

Anna Wyrzykowska – Program Chair/Moderator – AIJA Immediate Past President & Partner at WKB, Poland
Renee Dopplick – Rule of Law Officer, ABA International Law Section
Lourdes Venes – Secretary General, IABA
Jacqueline Scott – President Elect UIA

Closing Remarks:
David Schwartz – Chair-Elect, ABA International Law Section, Of Counsel, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Kats (New York)