Daily Archives: 21/03/2017


March 20, 2017

Lottie Cunningham Wren

On 17 March 2017, indigenous rights defender Lottie Cunningham Wren received threats against herself, CEDHJUCAN’s staff, and other human rights defenders on Facebook.

Lottie Cunningham Wren is a lawyer and founder of the Centro por la Justicia y Derechos Humanos de la Costa Atlántica de Nicaragua (Center for Justice and Human Rights of the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua – CEJUDHCAN). She works with over 100 remote communities to help indigenous peoples exercise their legal rights to protect natural resources.

Lottie was an expert witness in the Awas Tingni vs. Nicaragua case, before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. This case resulted in a tremendous land rights victory for indigenous peoples throughout the Americas. Lottie`s goal now is to implement that decision and help communities on the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua demarcate and title their lands.

Lottie has received threatening letters warning her not to continue her work with the communities and there was a kidnapping attempt against her in May 2015 in one community. Her colleagues have received threatening phonecalls warning them against speaking out like Lottie.



March 21, 2017

Recently, the Bar Council of India (BCI) has suggested stringent measures, including debarring advocates from practicing for participating in strikes or abstaining from court work. In its detailed suggestions to the Law Commission, which is drafting amendments to the Advocates Act on a reference made to it by the Supreme Court, the BCI said the law should be amended to statutorily prohibit lawyers from boycotting or abstaining from work in courts.

The BCI has recommended an amendment to be read as:
“No association of advocates or any member of the association, either individually or collectively, shall boycott or abstain from court work or cause obstruction in any form in court’s functioning during court’s working hours in court premises nor shall individually or collectively give a call for such boycott or abstinence from work during court hours.”

Any lawyer indulging in such activities would thus be construed to have committed misconduct and will be liable to be debarred from practicing in courts for a certain number of years or permanently.
These recommendations not only attack an Advocates right to strike and collectively abstain from work, but also severely restricts their right to collectively protest for demands of their profession. The right to strike flows from the fundamental right to form a union. The recommendations are an attempt to criminalize lawyer protests and struggles.

Protests and struggles by the lawyer community have played an immense role in safeguarding and promoting the rights of citizens. The Indian freedom struggle itself had the participation of numerous lawyers and to criminalize protests of the lawyer community is a severe attack on this longstanding contribution of lawyers in upholding constitutional values. In recent times, lawyers in India have taken to the streets and other reasonable forms of protest like strikes to condemn the increasing attacks on their community. The lawyer community in Pakistan too, had played and still continues to play a significant role in protecting the independency of the judiciary. The recommended criminalization of this form of protest will severely harm the interests of lawyers and the country as a whole.

Before recommending provisions with such far reaching consequences, the BCI did not even consult the State Bar Councils, Associations and other lawyers bodies. The Indian Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL), strongly condemns these unilateral and unjust recommendations of the BCI and calls upon the Law Commission to reject the same.


Adv. Surendra Gadling (Nagpur),
Adv. Maharukh Adenwalla (Mumbai),
Adv. Sudha Bharadwaj (Bilaspur),
Adv. Ankit Grewal (Chandigarh)

(IAPL – Indian Association of People’s Lawyers Facebook)



New Delhi: Lawyers oppose BCI recommendation to bar them from strike



Bar Council of India: info@barcouncilofindia.org

Cameroon: American lawmakers speak out on Cameroon as lawyer’s trial looms

March 21, 2017

American lawmakers speak out on Cameroon as lawyer’s trial looms

Two American lawmakers are the latest to raise their voices in concern over the escalating crisis in Cameroon and the impact on the Anglophone community.

Representatives André Carson and Jackie Walorski — both from the U.S. state of Indiana, but with vastly different political views from opposing parties — have issued statements calling for government accountability and an end to the political crisis.

Carson, a Muslim and African-American Democrat, is the outgoing chair of the Congressional Cameroon Caucus. As such, he is “deeply disturbed by the recent reports that protests over perceived marginalization of Cameroon’s Anglophone population have resulted in a harsh government crackdown.”

His statement notes that the lengthy Internet blackout in Anglophone regions harms the social and economic growth of the vibrant region. Any political repression under President Paul Biya is inconsistent with the shared goals of the U.S. and Cameroon, and the foreign aid that the latter receives to support economic development, security and democracy.

“As with all of our friends, we have an obligation to hold the Cameroonian government accountable when their actions suppress free expression and fail to protect minority populations,” Carson said.

Walorski, a Christian and conservative Republican, issued her statement in solidarity with the Cameroon diaspora she represents and on behalf of Nkongho Felix Agbor-Balla. He is a graduate of University of Notre Dame, which is located in the region she represents in Congress, and was arrested in January as the leader of the now-banned Anglophone Civil Society Consortium.


Political tensions are growing in Cameroon’s troubled English-speaking regions




China: Canada, 10 other countries call out China for torturing human rights lawyers

March 20, 2017

AFP/Getty Images

Eleven countries have jointly called on the Chinese government to investigate reports of torture against human rights lawyers and urged Beijing to abandon a controversial detention system that holds suspects in secret locations for months at a time.

The unusually direct criticism comes in a letter from the Chinese diplomatic missions of the signatory countries, including Canada, that expresses “growing concern over recent claims of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in cases concerning detained human rights lawyers and other human rights defenders.”

The signatories call for China to end the practice of “residential surveillance at a designated place,” a Chinese form of pretrial custody for sensitive cases that allows suspects to be held for up to six months, often without families or lawyers being told where they are.

Residential surveillance amounts to “incommunicado detention in secret places, putting detainees at a high risk of torture or ill-treatment,” the letter states. China should, it says, remove all suspects from residential surveillance and repeal enabling legislation.