Human Rights Crusader: International Justice Mission

In light of Bill Gates’ recent letter that predicted the end of poverty, many are in agreement, but  in order to see the end of poverty, we are required to see an end to violence.

International Justice Mission (IJM) is a global human rights agency whose mission is to protect the poor from any kind of violence, notably the kind that is not printed in newspapers or spread across the Internet.

Gary A. Haugen, the agency’s founder and president, recently published a new book titled, The Locust Effect, and writes, “The locusts of everyday violence have been allowed to swarm unabated in the developing world. And they are laying waste to the hope of the poor.”

Since 1997, Haugen and International Justice Mission have represented thousands of victims of violence in Africa and Latin America as well as South and Southeast Asia. The people they have helped are victims of rape, slavery, sex trafficking, police brutality, a lack of property rights, and other crimes.

Before founding International Justice Mission, Haugan worked as a lawyer at the United States Department of Justice and as the Investigator in Charge for the United Nations after the Rwandan genocide. He founded the organization to fulfill a need to provide healthcare, education, food and other necessary services to the world’s poor. Haugan realized that many of these individuals were victims of violence as well and that they were not receiving the proper resources and assistance to stop the perpetrators.

Today, International Justice Mission has over 500 lawyers, social workers, investigators and others who help to fulfill the need to protect the impoverished. It has made its duty to combat human violence, or “violence that strips widows and orphans of their property and livelihoods, violence that steals dignity and health from children trafficked into forced prostitution, violence that denies freedom and security to families trapped in slavery.”

This commitment to end violence, in forms of both oppression and injustice, is becoming even more important in regard to seeing an end to poverty. In many of the most impoverished areas of the world, the people who need the most help are not able to receive it because the justice systems in their areas are unable to protect them.

The atrocities that many would consider both tragic and heartbreaking are a common occurrence for those who live in the poorest areas of the world. It is estimated that the world’s poorest 4 billion people are unable to receive protection from their country’s justice system.

Without proper protection, it is even more difficult for those in poverty to have a better life, as they are still subject to violence that can take them out of their homes and forever negatively impact their lives.

This kind of abuse and gross injustice can no longer be ignored and International Justice Mission seeks four outcomes for these victims: victim relief, perpetrator accountability, survivor aftercare, and structural transformation.

In order to end the inequality and poverty around the world, we must first end the violence that has left so many to suffer injustices every day.

 Julie Guacci

Sources: Forbes, The Huffington Post
Photo: wbdcflblog