Justice International (JI) developed and created a new mentorship program to assist and provide support to lawyers and human rights defenders in Central Asia. Our mentorship program will help local lawyers build relationships with legal professionals from outside the country. Those relationships can provide general guidance and professional mentorship to lawyers when they are having legal questions or facing a difficult professional situation. Additionally, mentors with international legal experience can also guide the mentees in determining when the use of international legal standards or mechanisms may be applicable and helpful to local lawyers in cases. This support will empower the local lawyers in their daily legal work in challenging conditions
Our mentorship program is three pronged. First, we facilitate a one-to-one mentorship partnership between lawyers in Kyrgyzstan and experienced lawyers abroad. Second, we run an online secure forum for mentors, mentees and other experts to participate in discussions on various legal topics. The discussions are archived along with a database of international legal resources and participants can search the archives later when they have questions about a specific subject. Finally, we host webinars and other remote learning opportunities on a regular basis.
The network created by this program serves as a tool of direct communication with the international community in case of an urgent need to gather support or conduct advocacy by the international community. As we have seen in our work, such support and advocacy often serves as a vital protection for lawyers and human rights defenders.