Avocats Sans Frontières (ASF), founded in 1992 in Brussels, is an international NGO specialising in promoting access to justice and the defence of human rights. The organisation fights against injustices in our societies and promotes the principle of the rule of law based on human rights.
From Kinshasa to Tunis, from Bangui to Kampala, our teams contribute to:
- Develop the power of action of populations;
- Strengthen the capacities of actors in access to justice (magistrates, court clerks, lawyers, paralegals, social workers, community leaders, etc.) to better support those subject to trial;
- Promote legislative reforms for a better respect of human rights.
In recent years, ASF has also asserted itself as an organisation that has the will and the capability to mobilise, create links and animate collaborative dynamics between actors who fight for the promotion of access to justice and the defence of human rights.
ASF has materialized this ambition by developing Justice ExPEERience, a network that aims to connect actors in the fight for human rights and access to justice around the world.
Everywhere around the world, the rule of law is threatened by the rise of States’ authoritarian tendencies, which result in the reduction of civic spaces and even in the criminalisation of human rights defenders. This trend is directly linked to a second trend called “corporate capture”, which sees institutions captured by private interests, particularly economic actors. The two trends feed each other, favouring the reproduction of dynamics of oppression and domination, both in the internal governance of societies and in the relations between them (states and private actors).
In light of these observations, ASF considers that it is fundamental to affirm the principle of the rule of law based on human rights, by:
- Enabling the resolution of conflicts, the reduction of inequalities and the realisation of individuals’ rights;
- Encouraging individuals and societies to become aware of their responsability for structural injustices and their resolution;
- Ensuring access to spaces for advocacy, dialogue and conflict resolution
- Reaffirming the accountability of policy makers;
- ASF is a grassroots organisation: it has local roots that are further deepened through the development of partnerships at community level.
- ASF is a learning organisation: it seeks to question the impact of its initiatives in order to improve its performance. A monitoring and evaluation policy exists within the organisation and several initiatives allow ASF to dynamically and continuously assess the relevance, effectiveness and sustainability of its interventions.
- ASF is an advocacy-based organisation: experiences from field activities (action) and lessons learned (learning) must be fed back to stakeholders and institutional actors in order to influence public policy.
All our activities are carried out in partnership with local entities: organisations and civil society groups, lawyers, bar associations, local institutions and authorities, community leaders, paralegals, social workers, international NGOs and other institutions… Our activities fall into three categories:
- Provision of legal aid services: organisation of legal centres, provision of legal representation, raising awareness and educating the population on their rights…
- Capacity building: professional training of lawyers; awareness-raising and information for justice personnel, institutional support to bar associations for the development of the profession and organisation of legal aid, training of local NGOs on law and procedure, observation of trials, creation of cases files, or working with victims, networking for creation of local synergies…
- Advocacy: meetings with local and international institutions and authorities, submission of position papers, publications, organisation of roundtables…
Read ASF’s official statutes (PDF).
Avocats Sans Frontières (ASF) is an NGO specialised in supporting access to justice, based in Brussels. ASF has no connection with the NGO “Avocats Sans Frontières” headed by Mr. Gilles-William Goldnadel in Paris. The public positions and statements of Mr. Goldnadel therefore do not in any way represent those of ASF.