Daily Archives: 25/01/2022

DR Congo: Attack on environmental lawyer’s home alarms DRC rights defenders

25/01/22

Armed assailants recently attacked the home of Congolese environment lawyer Timothée Mbuya. Mbuya, head of human rights NGO Justicia, is fighting a defamation lawsuit related to his criticism of a farm owned by the former president of DRC, Joseph Kabila. While it has not yet been established who was behind the attack on Mbuya’s home, campaigners say it fits a broader pattern of harassment and intimidation of activists in Katanga province and beyond.

At around midnight on Jan. 12, at least six men, armed with hammers and AK-47s and wearing balaclavas, smashed a large hole in the wall to gain entry to the property in Lubumbashi, the Katanga provincial capital, where Mbuya’s wife and children and several members of his extended family were sleeping.

For more than an hour, the men threatened to kill family members, including the activist’s 9-year-old son, unless they gave up his father’s location.  The attackers, two of whom Mbuya says were dressed as police officers, eventually left, taking mobile phones, a laptop, and jewelry.

“They repeatedly stated they were sent to kill me,” Mbuya told Mongabay by phone from an undisclosed location.

Mbuya said he believes the attack is linked to a report on encroachment into protected areas published by Justicia in September 2021, which among other things alleged that Kabila’s farm, Ferme Espoir, has illegally encroached on Kundelungu National Park.

[…]

https://www.radiookapi.net/2022/01/13/actualite/securite/lubumbashi-la-residence-du-president-de-lasbl-justicia-vandalisee (FRANCAIS)

https://tournonslapage.org/fr/actualites/rdc-tentative-dassassinat-de-me-timothee-mbuya-president-de-justicia-asbl

Lubumbashi: Visite du Me Timothée Mbuya par les hommes armés, et si la ferme Espoir était impliquée ?

https://www.adiac-congo.com/content/lubumbashi-la-societe-civile-denonce-linstrumentalisation-de-la-justice-133886

Colombia: Day of the Endangered Lawyer – Wrap up

24/01/22

May be an image of 1 person and text that says "24 January 2022 INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE LAWYER IN DANGER COLOMBIA"

Along with the workaday perils of practising law that they share with their male counterparts, such as being gunned down in the street, Colombia’s women lawyers face threats that are particular to them. They could be raped, for example, or suffer another form of sexual assault that aims to intimidate and discourage them from doing their job – which is representing and protecting the vulnerable through the rule of law. Also, women lawyers’ children may be threatened with violence or press ganged into a guerrilla army, where the only subject on the curriculum – Marxist precepts apart – is how to kill.

These are some of the stark truths to emerge from this year’s Day of the Endangered Lawyer (24 January) panel discussion chaired by Law Society international human rights adviser Doctor Marina Brilman. Previous discussions have looked at other countries where the rule of law no longer holds sway, such as Azerbajan, Turkey, Pakistan and Egypt. This year’s focus is on the South American republic of Colombia, where the 2016 peace agreement was supposed to have ended the 60 year conflict between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the state.

The conflict claimed around 262,000 lives, displaced 6.9m people, saw around 18,000 children forced to join armed groups and many thousands more people ‘disappeared’, raped or tortured. The optimism engendered by the agreement has failed to bear fruit, as the three Colombian lawyers on the panel report.

Dora Lucy Arias Giraldo is a member of Colombia’s leading human rights lawyers’ collective. She begins: ‘The Colombian constitution states that it is the duty of lawyers to promote human rights and represent the vulnerable. And yet the government, working through its own intelligence organisations, has an active strategy of diminishing and weakening our operations through attacks on our children and sexual violence against our (women lawyers’) bodies.’ She concedes: ‘There are protection measures in place regarding gender, but they are under-funded – a particular problem when trying to bring powerful economic players to justice.’

Ana Maria Rodriguez, who is also a human rights lawyer, warns that Colombia’s ‘entire existence as a social justice state’ is under threat. She points to recent ‘reforms’ that were designed specifically to weaken the remit of both public prosecutors and the ombudsman, while increasing the power of the executive to turn a blind eye to government corruption.

[…]

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/commentary-and-opinion/day-of-the-endangered-lawyer/5111266.article

https://www.americanbar.org/news/abanews/aba-news-archives/2022/01/statement-of-aba-president-reginald-turner-re-day-of-the-endange/

https://france3-regions.francetvinfo.fr/auvergne-rhone-alpes/rhone/lyon/journee-internationale-des-avocats-en-danger-le-barreau-de-lyon-denoncent-la-situation-de-leurs-conferes-colombiens-2431921.html (FRANCAIS)

https://www.leprogres.fr/societe/2022/01/24/journee-de-l-avocat-en-danger-a-lyon-une-tradition-de-defense-des-droits-de-l-homme

https://www.camerepenali.it/cat/11306/24_gennaio_2022_-_giornata_dell_avvocato_minacciato.html (ITALIANO)

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