The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee advances human rights through grassroots collaborations.
Victim Advocates International
LOCATION: Kirribilli, New South Wales, Australia
Victim Advocates International (VAI) is a membership organization for groups of victims of serious international crimes—including war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. Around the world, victims of such crimes frequently organize around the objective of fighting for justice. These groups often struggle to access the resources needed to navigate international justice mechanisms. VAI provides the groups in its membership the tools and resources they need to engage with these mechanisms, take their own cases, advocate around their own priorities, and lead their own justice movements. VAI’s methodology focuses on three pillars of support for members: legal advice, advocacy support, and organizational development.
For several years, VAI has worked with Rohingya Muslims victimized and displaced by the Myanmar (Burma) military. There are 11 Rohingya organizations in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar refugee camp—the largest Rohingya refugee camp in the country—currently within VAI’s membership, including five women’s groups and four youth groups.
UUSC’s support helps develop VAI’s work with these groups, all of which is tailored to their individual objectives and preferences. Some of this includes continuing to support the Arakan Rohingya Society for Peace and Human Rights (ARSPH) with its documentation work. ARSPH plays a vital role in documenting life for Rohingya refugees in the Cox’s Bazar refugee camp.
VAI also helps Rohingya groups to engage with different international accountability mechanisms, ensuring that these groups have access to official resources that can address the violence, displacement, and dehumanization the Rohingya people have faced.
Image Credit: Victim Advocates International