On January 24th, 2017 -the seventh year of the Day of the Endangered Lawyer- the focus will be on China. Last summer, more than a hundred organizations of lawyers and human rights organizations sent an official letter to the president of this country. In this letter they protest against the situation on human rights and that of human rights lawyers in the People’s Republic.
Often these lawyers have been sentenced to a minimum of three years imprisonment on charges of ‘subversion’. The document ‘Chinese lawyers arrested and under detention’ (pdf) makes clear how bizarre allegations the Chinese government makes up can be.
More background information can be found in the ‘Statement on Trial 709’ (pdf) and Attachments 1 (pdf) and 2 (pdf).
An important recent event mentioned is the ‘709 crackdown’. Beside the lawyers mentioned and involved in the crackdown cases there are many lawyers to mention who have been harassed. They were involved in very different human rights cases or cases against the government.
At least we have to mention the cases of the lawyers among many other cases Shu Xiangxin, Wang Qiushi, Wang Yu (this female lawyer was forced last month by the authorities to refuse the IDHAE-Ludovic Trarieux human rights prize of 2016; this prestigious prize was decerned to her by an international jury of lawyers),Pu Zhigiang, Wei Lingyue (missing), Le Heping, Hu Shigen, Zhang Kai, Zhu Yubiao, Teng Biao, Xu Zhiyong,Wang Yong Hang,Ding Jiaxi and Zhou Shifeng.
The authors of this paper are Gill H. Boehringer and Stuart Russell of the International Association of People’s Lawyers. The IAPL was created in 2000 to gather lawyers involved in the legal support of collective struggles for people’s rights and in situations of gross rights violations. The IAPL Monitoring Committee on Attacks on Lawyers was created in 2014 and maintains a very extensive blog documenting such attacks.
This paper is endorsed by: the International Observatory for Lawyers in Danger (OIAD for its French acronym), was relaunched in 2015 by the Paris Bar, the French National Bar Association, as well as the Italian and Spanish National Bar Associations, and also aims to bring any kind of support a lawyer under threat may need. Endangered Lawyers | Avvocati Minacciati was started in 2015, and later officially presented in 2016 to the Italian Criminal Lawyers Association (Unione Camere Penali Italiane or UCPI). It is coordinated by Italian lawyers Nicola Canestrini and Ezio Menzione. Created in 2001, the European Bar Human Rights Institute (IDHAE) monitors human rights protection, the training of lawyers in international human rights law, interventions, regardless of the limitations of borders, in favour of freedom and the fundamental rights of lawyers, organizes the World Observatory for Defence Rights and attacks against lawyers, workshops, symposia and seminars related to publications on international human rights law. Created in 2010, the purpose of the Day of the Endangered Lawyer Foundation is to “call attention on that day to threatened human rights lawyers with special attention to one designated country.” Avocats Européens Démocrates/European Democratic Lawyers (AED/EDL), founded in 1987, is a professional confederation of lawyer unions and organizations. On the international level it promotes the rights of defence and especially seeks to preserve the physical integrity, as well as the political and economic freedoms of lawyers.