• News

6 February 2024

As part of International Development Week (IDW), Lawyers Without Borders Canada is in Ottawa with other non-governmental organizations to call for Canada’s financial and political commitment to defending human rights and democracy around the world.


The IDW is an annual event held during the first full week of February. It aims to support international development priorities while highlighting the important contributions of Canadians, both at home and abroad. As part of this effort, Cooperation Canada invited its members, including Lawyers Without Borders Canada, to a day on Parliament Hill to engage with parliamentarians on the impact of Canadian aid.


For Lawyers Without Borders Canada, this opportunity is a reminder of the importance of the role of civil society, on the front line in promoting and protecting human rights and the rule of law.


Canada must do more to protect the rights of women and girls around the world.


In response to daunting development challenges, growing humanitarian needs and rising threats to human rights, particularly for women and girls, Lawyers Without Borders Canada underscores the crucial role Canada plays in promoting and defending human rights and democracy on the world stage through its Feminist International Assistance Policy. We join a hundred Canadian organizations in calling on Canada to reaffirm its leadership by increasing its development aid budget worldwide.


At a time when the rule of law and democracy are in retreat, Canada must do more to support civil society organizations.


Democracy continued to contract in every region of the world in 20231. For the first time in 20 years, there are more autocracies than liberal democracies on the planet. 72% of the world’s population, some 5.7 billion people, now live in autocracies2.


But all is not lost: several countries have also demonstrated that it is possible to reverse the trend, and civil society organizations (CSOs) are part of the solution. Nations that have done so have fostered the emergence of a pro-democracy citizen mobilization, in addition to re-establishing an independent judiciary, toppling authoritarian leaders, establishing free elections and fighting corruption. For Lawyers Without Borders Canada, there’s no doubt about it. Civil society organizations play a fundamental role in protecting and implementing human rights. In this context, Canada must do more to support CSOs.


Canada is committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through constructive collaboration between governments, the private sector, civil society and people who want to make a difference. (Partnerships for Achieving the Goals: SDG 17.) This week, join us in reminding our elected officials of this promise.


This #SDI2024, #GoForTheGoals!



NB: We recognize that International Development Week 2024 falls during Black History Month and that Canadian international cooperation organizations must take concrete steps to address the legacy of racial prejudice and colonialism in the international cooperation sector.



1. IDEA International, The Global State of Democracy, 2023, Online: https://www.idea.int/gsod/2023/

2. According to a report produced by the Varieties of Democracy Institute (V-Dem Institute), University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Online. https://www.v-dem.net/publications/democracy-reports/. See also: Bastian Herre (2022), The world has recently become less democratic, in OurWorldInData.org. Online: https://ourworldindata.org/less-democratic