Community Engagement

Promoting human rights and social justice around the world

Peter A. Allard with the Allard Prize Committee, 2015 Recipients and Honourees
Peter A. Allard with the Allard Prize Committee, 2015 Recipients and Honourees

 

Corruption and human rights violations are serious global issues that erode the foundation of a just society. In Colombia, lawyers, members of the judiciary and human rights defenders working to promote accountability and integrity in the justice system are routinely targeted, threatened and even killed. According to Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, the UN reported in 2010 that more than 300 people in the judicial system, including lawyers and judges, had been killed in Colombia in the previous 15 years.

“Without a functioning judiciary free from corruption or fear of violence, those responsible cannot be held accountable; the integrity of the criminal justice system is compromised by fear, and those who are most vulnerable to attack are left with out legal protections. It is a cycle of violence,” says Peter A. Allard School of Law alumna Flora Vineberg.

As the recipient of the Allard Prize Student Externship Fund, Vineberg had the opportunity to travel as a delegate of Lawyers Rights Watch Canada and the UK Caravana of Jurists to Colombia, where she met with members of the legal community and civil society to investigate, document and shine light on the violence and corruption that continues to plague the country’s justice system.

Established by law alumnus Mr. Peter A. Allard, Q.C., the $100,000 CDN Allard Prize for International Integrity is awarded biennially to an individual, movement or organization that has demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership in combating corruption, especially through promoting transparency, accountability and the Rule of Law. The Allard Prize Student Externship Fund is a related initiative that is available to Allard School of Law students.

One of the anti-corruption movement’s most inspiring leaders, Rafael Marques de Morais, was one of two recipients of the 2015 Allard Prize for International Integrity. The prominent Angola-based journalist and human rights activist has dedicated his career to exposing corruption in his home country. He founded Maka Angola – an anti-corruption watchdog, through which he has become the authoritative voice on corruption in his country. He says the Allard Prize will help lead to change in his country.

“It is a boost for my work, and an important break in my isolation and regular harassment. It also provides a ray of hope for Angolans who believe in the importance of exposing corruption as a criminal offense and the main scourge of society.”

Other recipients of the Allard Prize include Anna Hazare in 2013, one of India’s most influential social activists, and John Githongo in 2015, a Kenyan journalist known for exposing corruption in his country.

During UBC’s start an evolution campaign Mr. Allard donated $40 million to the Faculty of Law, the largest gift ever to a Canadian law school and the largest individual donation to the campaign. In recognition of this gift, the university renamed the law school the Peter A. Allard School of Law.  Mr. Allard also donated approximately $12 million to support the construction of Allard Hall, the founding of the Allard Prize and the launch of the law school’s history project, an online archive.

For Vineberg, receiving the Allard Prize Student Externship Fund has inspired her to continue her human rights and anti-corruption work.

“These types of opportunities offer rare and invaluable insights into international fieldwork and the challenges of human rights work; without Mr. Allard’s generosity, as a student, I would not have had this opportunity otherwise.”