RespiteWith a generous donation from the director of the Oak Foundation’s international human rights program, the CEELI Institute has completed the renovation and furnishing of a one-bedroom flat at the Institute, which is dedicated for use by participants of a new respite and sabbatical program for human rights lawyers working under stressful and challenging conditions. Our program is designed to help mitigate the damaging effect of the severe stress and untenable workloads carried by many among the community of human rights lawyers. Often working in hostile and authoritarian environments, these lawyers work tirelessly to defend their clients – often at great personal risk and risk to their families.

Depending on the length of their stay, participants are encouraged to write and publish white papers on the legal issues they address that might serve as policy briefing tools for international counterparts and contribute to the body of knowledge for law practitioners in areas of human rights defense.

CEELI invites referrals from peers and colleagues to nominate lawyers working on difficult cases of human rights abuse, and those defending NGOs and civil society activists for short-to-medium term stays of up to three months. The specifics of each sabbatical are tailored to the individual needs of the participating lawyers. This year, CEELI has welcomed three participants on this respite program, and we look forward to hosting several more in the coming year.

If you would like to support this program, or would like more information, please contact Jennifer Gaspar at