From 5-7 September 2014, Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) and local organizing partner, Caritas Lebanon Migrants Center hosted the second Lawyers Beyond Borders convening in Beirut, Lebanon. This conference gathered together 21 lawyers from the Middle East, the Gulf region, South Asia, and Southeast Asia who specialize in cases involving migrant workers. The first Lawyers Beyond Borders conference was held in 2011 in Bangkok, Thailand.
The Lawyers Beyond Borders network was formed in response to the recognized need for collaboration among lawyers who work on the cases of migrant workers to move towards impact litigation and judicial advocacy in their work. In 2014, the network secretariat, MFA, appointed Henry Rojas, lawyer for the Center for Migrant Advocacy (Philippines) to serve as network coordinator and to advise the secretariat.
The three-day conference provided a platform for important discussions on the legal state of affairs and the situation of migrant workers across the countries of origin and destination represented. Conversations on the prospects for the use of such legal tools as constitutional challenges and Public Interest Litigation challenged conference participants to consider new ways of ensuring access to justice for migrant workers and to consider how important legal changes might occur outside of the slow process of policy change.
More information about the conference or the network’s activities can be found here: lawyersbeyondborders.mfasia.org