Skoll Foundation


International Bridges to Justice

Skoll Awardee(s): Karen Tse
Award Year: 2006
Issue Area(s) Addressed: Peace and Human Rights

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A former public defender and ordained minister, Karen Tse moved to Cambodia in 1994 to train public defenders. “I remember peering through a prison cell and talking with a boy who had been detained and tortured,” she recalls. “He was just a boy who had tried to steal a bicycle and he had no one to defend him.” At that time, there was little Karen or others could do. Governments throughout Asia, now under pressure from human rights activists, have passed laws outlawing torture and providing citizens with basic rights. By helping countries develop criminal justice systems to implement these laws, International Bridges to Justice (IBJ) is dramatically improving and even saving the lives of everyday citizens.

Impact since joining the portfolio in 2006:

  • IBJ has in-depth programs in Burundi, Cambodia, China, India, Rwanda, Singapore and Zimbabwe, in which it trains defense lawyers, persuades justice sector officials to create fairer criminal justice systems, and educates the public about their legal rights.
  • IBJ’s JusticeMakers program has provided funding for innovative projects in 25 countries and built a global platform now used by more than 6,000 lawyers and human rights defenders.
  • In Dec. 2011, TED and the Huffington Post published the video of a talk Karen Tse gave at TED Global on the urgent need to end investigative torture. They ranked the video #3 in their series called “BEST OF TED 2011: A Countdown of 18 Groundbreaking Ideas to Reshape the World in 2012.”
  • IBJ has advanced the legal skills of thousands of lawyers through training and has educated millions of people to demand their legal rights.
  • International Bridges to Justice is led by a group of over 65 employees, interns and volunteers throughout the world.



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