Frequently Asked Questions about CEJIL

When and why was CEJIL started?

In 1991, CEJIL was founded at a meeting held in Caracas by a group of prominent Latin American human rights defenders. The idea underpinning its creation was to form a regional organization that would use the international human rights law and the bodies of the Inter-American Human Rights System to promote justice, liberty and a dignified existence for the citizens of the hemisphere.

How many Countries does CEJIL work in?

CEJIL works across the Americas. It currently has offices in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; San Jose, Costa Rica; and Washington D.C., USA.

Does CEJIL charge for its legal representation?

No. CEJIL represents the victims of human rights abuses free of charge.

How many victims does CEJIL represent?

As of 2013, CEJIL represents over 7,400 victims in more than 200 open cases before the IAS, in partnership with some 380 partner organizations and human rights defenders. In addition to representation, CEJIL also provides free legal advice to hundreds of victims.

How is CEJIL funded?

CEJIL’s funding comes from the generous donations made by grant giving foundations, philanthropic organizations, individuals, the UN, nonregional governments, and other supporters.

How does CEJIL select the cases it litigates?

In order to ensure a response to human rights violations which has the greatest possible impact, CEJIL litigates cases emblematic of serious human rights violations in the Americas. These cases help to contribute to social justice, strengthen democracy and compel States to take steps to ensure greater respect for human rights. However, due to limited resources and the nature of its mission, CEJIL cannot take on all of the cases submitted for consideration.

Do these cases make a difference?

The cases litigated by the organization not only protect victims’ rights, but also establish regional standards of human rights protection and ensure non-repetition of violations. Often, the litigation of cases leads to State recognition of responsibility and public apologies made by States to the victims, friendly settlements in which a range of reparations are agreed, IACHR or IA Court pronouncements on violations committed by States, Court-ordered reparations to victims, and changes to a country’s laws and policies. Between 2012 and 2013, victims represented by CEJIL received reparation payments of more than US$1,626,500.

How can I help?

A range of dedicated professionals, ranging from attorneys and law school students to communications personnel, translators and volunteers help CEJIL to work towards its mission by devoting time to the organization through the internship or fellowship program. Most commitments run on a three month basis; further information can be found on the website. Additionally, CEJIL accepts donations from individuals and institutions. This can be done online via the organization’s website. If you wish to contribute in any other way, please contact CEJIL via the contact form online, or using the specific contact details for each CEJIL’s offices.