The International Section is the direct continuation of the International Foundation for the Rights and Liberation of Peoples, which was formally established with the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Peoples, adopted on July 4, 1976 in Algiers. The International Section is part of the Fondazione Lelio e Lisli Basso Issoco.
The Foundation’s cultural and political roots lie in the Russell Tribunal I and II sessions, on Vietnam (1966-1967) and Latin American dictatorships (1974-1976) respectively, in which Lelio Basso was a key player and facilitator.
The two cases documented:
- on the one hand, the need for and importance of having tools and venues to raise awareness and give visibility and a voice to “real” peoples on issues that for them were fundamental but which were ignored or refused by the state in question;
- on the other, the need for continuity and articulation in cases of political denunciation and mobilization, carried out through meticulous research activities (historical, economic, legal), so as to guarantee a reading and an understanding of the causes of the violation of rights of peoples (as a community and as individuals), thus developing a consciousness of liberation.
The International Foundation gave these needs and Lelio Basso’s insights an institutional interpretation, highlighting (ahead of its time) not only what was happening in and throughout the South of a world that was just coming out of de-colonization but also the growing need to focus research (doctrinal reflection and projects closely linked to different historical realities) on the weaknesses of the relationship between the principles (and rules) of international law and human rights, and (the then nascent) economic and cultural colonisation.
One of the most important expressions of the International Foundation was established in 1979, the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal, which remains to this day, after more than 30 sessions, one of the most dynamic and direct examples of the International Section’s action in critical areas of conflict, where different strategies are used to undermine, and claim impunity from, the very principles of a society based on inalienable human rights.
The complementary nature and structural approach to research and the concrete activities of the International Section and the Tribunal can be readily appreciated from their history and their work agendas.
In 2004, as part of the International Section of the Lelio Basso Foundation, the Associazione Scrivi di Diritto – Scuola di Giornalismo (Writing about Law Association – School of Journalism) was set up, to create a link between the issues dealt with by the Foundation and the world of communication and information.