The development of international human rights law and human rights institutions was the great global legal work of the last half century. But the challenge of our time is transforming that law and the work of those institutions into meaningful, timely, positive results for affected individuals and communities whose rights need protecting. Forum Nobis offers clients unsurpassed legal expertise in the field of human rights combined with a practical, cost-efficient, client-centered approach.
Forum Nobis’ human rights practice routinely engages complex issues of socioeconomic rights, cultural rights, environmental rights, and, especially, indigenous peoples’ rights. The firm advocates in and closely monitors the all leading international human rights institutions, including
- the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH); Inter-American Court of Human Rights; the European Court of Human Rights; the African Commission on Human Rights;
- the International Labour Organization (ILO);
- UN human rights conventions (and convention bodies that oversee treaty compliance and in some cases receive individual complaints) including the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the Conventions on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) and Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers, and others;
- the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII);
- the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO);
- the ongoing work of Human Rights Council and CIDH Special Rapporteurs and Working Groups (especially those focused on the rights of indigenous peoples, cultural rights, freedom of expression, human rights defenders, and business and human rights);
- National Human Rights Institutions;
- civil society conventions and forums.
The core of Forum Nobis’ human rights work, however, is the firm’s ability to put the tools and resources of international human rights law to effective use in the national-level legal proceedings, policy debates, and public opinion dialogues that typically have the most direct impact on affected individuals and communities. Through its counsel, consulting, and communications practices, Forum Nobis works with affected individuals and communities on human rights issues and projects such as:
- preparation of human rights related amicus briefs, policy briefing papers and other reports, presentations, op-eds, press releases, speeches, and issue outlines;
- research and analysis regarding human rights laws, norms, precedent, principles, regulations, codes of conduct, and industry practices;
- preparation and implementation of human rights due diligence and other compliance efforts, programs, and investigations // assessment and critique of existing or forthcoming efforts by other parties;
- assistance on human rights issues for strategy development, public relations and awareness campaigns, creative media projects, fundraising drives, public policy dialogues, and other projects.
In addition to the fundamental human rights held by all people, indigenous and other protected communities have important additional rights under international law—and, increasingly, national laws—that arise from their fundamental collective right to self-determination as peoples. The positive right to self-determination has many facets, and includes as well a fundamental “negative” right to be free of any act which has “the aim or effect of depriving [the] integrity [of] distinct peoples, or of their cultural values or ethnic identities.”
Forum Nobis works with indigenous, tribal, and other protected communities to understand the extent to which national and international laws can protect their rights and to develop strategies and approaches for articulating and advocating for those rights in a variety of forums.