When they graduate, our EarthRights School students join our growing network of alumni, now numbering more than 300 members. Throughout their careers, we seek to maximize the impact of our alumni by providing ongoing structured opportunities for them to network, collaborate, exchange information and resources, and receive advanced training and technical assistance.
Our alumni go on to do amazing work throughout the region, often collaborating with each other. In Myanmar, for instance, our alumni have played vital roles in campaigns to keep the Salween River free-flowing, to assist villagers who have been displaced by new Special Economic Zones (SEZs), and to suspend construction of the Myitsone Dam on the Irrawaddy River.
Many of these projects are made possible the the generous support of the Daniel Clark Memorial Fund, which supports the future ambitions of the EarthRights alumni, adding momentum to their work in human rights, environmental protection and community activism.
Mekong Legal Network
Lawyers in the Mekong region have limited opportunities to study or undertake public interest legal practice, so it is important for experienced practitioners in the region to share their successes with other lawyers. In 2009, we founded the Mekong Legal Advocacy Institute (MLAI) in order to increase regional understanding and collaboration in public interest law, and to expand access to justice.
MLAI is a two week, annual program which provides a forum for junior Mekong lawyers to share experiences, develop new legal and advocacy strategies, and initiate coordinated actions on environmental and social issues, with a specific focus on increasing public participation in development decisions. Participants are joined by expert lawyers from the region and around the world, who share skills and offer guidance in key areas of emerging law including sustainable development, transboundary legal mechanisms and corporate accountability.
Human Rights and Advocacy Training
Every year, beyond our formal training programs, we conduct dozens of training events for activists, judges, lawyers and villagers, on a wide range of topics related to human rights, environmental justice, legal advocacy, and the rule of law. Whether it’s a “know your rights” course for indigenous peoples in the Amazon, a seminar on international law and environmental law with public interest lawyers in Nigeria, or a training for activists in the Mekong on the use of regional complaint mechanisms, all of these trainings share a common purpose: to equip local communities and leaders with the tools they need to advocate for their own human and environmental rights.
Foreign Legal Assistance Network
One of our most promising new strategy uses the Foreign Legal Assistance (FLA) statute to assist public interest lawyers in other countries with their cases. Under this statute (28 U.S.C. § 1782), “interested parties” may ask a U.S. federal court to obtain documents and testimony from people or companies located in the U.S., when that information is relevant to a foreign legal proceeding. We’ve brought FLA actions against several U.S. corporations to seek and acquire evidence for use in human rights cases abroad.
Cooperating Attorneys who have the interest and capacity to devote a more substantial amount of time can help by becoming part of ERI’s Foreign Legal Assistance Network (FLAN). Attorneys would be responsible for representing petitioners in a Section 1782 discovery motion. For more information on the FLAN, and to see the types of actions ERI has filed so far, see our Foreign Legal Assistance page. If you are interested in being part of this Network,or for more information, contact us at [email protected] Make sure to put “Foreign Legal Assistance” in the subject header.”
If you have an active or a pending proceeding which may benefit from discovery in the U.S., contact us at [email protected] Make sure to put “Foreign Legal Assistance” in the subject header.