June 26, 2019
Lawyers have an essential role in upholding the Constitution and realising the rule of law – at the Human Rights Council 41st session this week, even China agreed. So why does the Chinese government continue to harass, intimidate and persecute lawyers who defend human rights ask 4 NGOs on 25 June 2019: Lawyers for Lawyers, International Bar Association, International Service for Human Rights and Lawyer’s Rights Watch Canada. In a joint statement the NGOs call on the UN expert on independence of judges and lawyers, and the Council and its members, to press for accountability.
‘The Chinese delegation recognised the need for balance in regulation between lawyers’ and judges’ rights, on the one hand, and their professional responsibilities, on the other hand’,says Sarah M Brooks, Asia Advocate at ISHR. ‘But it is hard to take this claim seriously, as Chinese authorities continue to adopt abusive laws and measures, using them as a “sledgehammer” to restrict fundamental freedoms’.
This includes in particular lawyer Jiang Tianyong, who – since his nominal release from prison on 28 February 2019 – has been subject to invasive surveillance, restrictions on his freedom of movement, and refusal of independent medical exams. Worse, he is unnecessarily and inhumanely kept from joining his family in the U.S.