International Law in Advocacy (ILIA)

International Law in Advocacy addresses human rights challenges through education in international human rights law.


ILIA is an educational project coordinated by several Human Rights Houses, Human Rights House Foundation, and partners. It is open to lawyers and human rights defenders from Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine.

The project provides education in international human rights law, strategies on how to implement human rights standards at national level, and entry into an active, international alumni of human rights lawyers.

The projects aims to:

  • increase the knowledge and skills of lawyers in international human rights protection
  • facilitate the implementation of international human rights standards in national practice
  • provide better protection for human rights defenders and victims of fundamental rights violations.

Courses within the project apply a practical methodology focused on implementation, cultivating and strengthening the theoretical knowledge gained. Participants prepare individual communications to international bodies, engage in discussions, write essays, and draft complaints to national Constitutional Courts and others.

ILIA is part of HRHF and network of Human Rights Houses’ work on capacity building and exchange of knowledge, and aims at extending the knowledge and experience of lawyers in international human rights protection.

To achieve these aims, ILIA operates education in two areas:

  • Bring International Standards Home (BISH)  – focuses on advancing the implementation of international human rights standards in Belarus, and is targeted at human rights defenders and human rights lawyers.
  • Electronic Human Rights Education for Lawyers (EHREL) – internet-based distance learning to provide human rights education to lawyers.

Those that complete education in these areas join the combined ILIA alumni of more than 100 lawyers from Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine. ILIA continues to build capacity among these alumni lawyers – who increasing take local ownership – and to consider expansion of the project to new intakes of lawyers from participating countries.

The alumni exchange knowledge, experience, and best practices (online and at seminars) and cooperate with international organisations, universities, and bar associations. They document, evaluate, and report on topics essential to the work of human rights lawyers, such as the risks they face or the need to establish international protections. The alumni network acts as a source of inspiration and solidarity, and provides opportunities for cross-border collaboration and internships.

Access to ILIA’s E-library is also a major benefit for ILIA participants and alumni. This library features study materials, full-text articles, and other related materials on human rights standards and relevant case law.

Implementing partners

Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House (Belarus/Lithuania)

Educational Human Rights House Chernihiv (Ukraine)

Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)

Human Rights Embassy (Moldova)

Human Rights House Foundation (Norway)

Legal Education Society (Azerbaijan)

Russian Research Centre on human rights (Russia)

Human Rights House Tbilisi (Georgia)

Belarusian Association of Journalists (Belarus)

Belarusian Helsinki Committee (Belarus)

Legal Initiative NGO (Belarus)

Human Rights Centre “Viasna” (Belarus)

MART NGO (Ukraine)


Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Matra/KAP Small Embassy Projects Programme, Netherlands Embassy in Warsaw

National Endowment for Democracy, USA

The German Marshall Fund of the United States

The Nordic Council of Minister’s Support Programme for NGOs in the Baltic Sea Region

Council of Europe

Fritt Ord Foundation, Norway

International Renaissance Foundation, Ukraine

Irish Aid

Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Germany

ODIHR/OSCE/European Commission

Open Society Institute, France

Civil Rights Defenders

Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD), Canada

The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA)

US Agency for International Development (USAID)

German Embassy in Ukrain

Khariv Human Rights Protection Group

U.S. Embassy in Ukraine

American Bar Association (ABA, Justice Defenders Program)

OSCE Mission to Moldova

UN Development Programme (UNDP Moldova)

Norwegian Mission of Rule of Law Advisers to Moldova (NORLAM)

Stefan Batory Foudation, Poland

Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs via Polish Aid Programme

Forum Syd


Liudmila Ulyashyna
Human Rights Officer
Languages: English, Russian, Belarusian, Polish, German, Norwegian


International Law in Advocacy excels in its impact in the following areas:

Expertise – Effective, up-to-date online courses and in-person seminars. Empowers lawyers and human rights defenders to use international human rights mechanisms, and to advance national implementation of human rights standards in their home country.

Network – An active, international alumni network that provides support, solidarity, and opportunities for joint activities, and access to resources such as online training courses and an e-library of cases and materials.

Advocacy – Promotes protection and guarantees for lawyers, connecting them to opportunities for international advocacy work at the UN, CoE, OSCE and elsewhere, projecting a strong, unified voice to international institutions, and pushing for the implementation of human rights standards in home countries.

Protection – Strengthens the protection of human rights defenders and victims of human rights violations. Many alumni work closely with organisations within the network of Human Rights Houses, on projects such as trial observation of detained human rights defenders in Azerbaijan.

Implementation – Direct application of international human rights standards in litigation and practice at the national level. To promote further national implementation, ILIA is built on close cooperation with organisations in the Human Rights Houses.


In 2006, Bring international standards home (BISH) was founded to advance the implementation of international human rights standards in Belarus. This is when ILIA began to develop. The training was targeted at human rights defenders and lawyers. After the first cycle, it became apparent that for security reasons it would be safer for some to participate in e-learning courses.

In 2009, the project was made available online in the form of Electronic Human Rights Education for Lawyers (EHREL), to extend the success of the BISH project to the wider region. Today, more than 150 lawyers and human rights defenders from Belarus, Georgia, Ukraine, Russia, Moldova, and Azerbaijan can participate in the alumni community, supported by the network of Human Rights Houses. ILIA is taught in Russian and draws on the universality of human rights law to create a curiculum relevant and applicable in all participating countries.

Through various tools ILIA also aims at strengthening cooperation between ILIA lawyers and human rights organisations to promote national protection of human rights and their defenders.

The curriculum is certified by the European Humanities University (EHU) and awards academic credits in accordance with the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS).