3 February 2017

Accountability Counsel’s Role in the Resistance

By Natalie Bridgeman Fields, Founder & Executive Director

The Trump administration has taken so many steps to undermine protections for human rights and the environment in the past week that it’s hard to keep up, let alone challenge these affronts to justice. We all have a job to do to stand up to abuse and impunity. Here is what Accountability Counsel is doing to advance rights in this hostile era.

1. First and foremost, we are committed to working in an interdisciplinary and intersectional movement for justice.

This means collaborating with people in the environmental, human rights, labor, and development fields, as we’ve always done. But this also means standing up with immigrant rights activists, criminal justice advocates, LGBTQI activists, and others who work on issues that may not leave the boundaries of the United States. United we stand, divided we fall.

As part of this commitment, we are launching Accountability Counsel’s Good Ally program, inspired by our participation in a recent conference in San Francisco where 1,200 lawyers gathered to strategize how – tactically – we can be good allies to communities threatened as a result of Trump administration policies. Accountability Counsel will encourage those on our staff who are lawyers in the U.S. with active bar membership to devote a portion of our dockets to protecting the rights of these communities, and the environment, here in the U.S. This is in line with our mission to amplify “the voices of communities around the world to protect their human rights and environment.”

2. Second, we are continuing to push for protections for the most vulnerable and will expose corruption and abuse.

We will continue our relationships with people who have spent their careers in civil service to the United States to work toward progressive policies around accountability, rights and sustainability in development finance. Where progress is not possible, we will challenge – and make public – all efforts by the new administration to undermine the decades of advances that hold institutions accountable for the abuses they commit or allow. We are also expanding our work with civil society groups in other national capitals as they work with their governments to lead on rights and accountability. As an example, we are hosting an International Advocates Working Group strategy meeting of around 40 civil society members from 12 countries as part of this global organizing effort.

3. We are advancing new work focused on impact investing and the private sector.

Following our thought leadership on accountability in private investment motivated by positive social and environmental returns, or impact investing, we have news coming soon about what our work in this area will look like. We believe advances in this area of the private sector are critical in their own right, and they could also create a model replicable in the multilateral and bilateral financing context in the future.

We need – and will need – your support as we continue to speak truth to power in partnership with communities around the world and here at home.