May 17, 2017
After the seminar ’The Voice of Rights, about lawyers and freedom of expression’* on Friday May 19th, the Lawyers for Lawyers Award 2017 will be presented to Thai human rights lawyer Sirikan Charoensiri. The event will take place in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
If you can’t attend this event in person, you can watch it online via our free LIVESTREAM!
You’ll be able to watch and listen to speakers from Colombia, Greece and Turkey, the panel discussions and of course the most important part: the Award Ceremony.
From 2:00 PM until 2:45 PM CEST we will livestream PART I with the opening and the introductions.
Hereafter, during the break-out sessions, we will pause the livestream.
We will continue the broadcast with PART II from 3:45 PM until 5:30 PM CEST with a plenary discussion and the Award Ceremony.
This afternoon, Sirikan Charoensiri received the 2017 L4L Award from 2015 recipient Jorge Molano
The latest two recipients of the L4L Award
(Lawyers for Lawyers Facebook)
May 10, 2017
The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the murder of lawyer Jhon Fredy Concha Valbuena and the attempted murder of lawyer Jorge Enrique Belalcázar Gutierrez in Colombia.
It has come to the Law Society’s attention that on January 24, 2017, criminal lawyer Jhon Fredy Concha Valbuena was shot dead by sicarios (hired assassins) outside his home in the city of Cali. Reports indicate that at the time of his death, Jhon Fredy Concha Valbuena was representing three individuals accused of kidnapping twelve congressmen (eleven of whom later died) in 2002. The accused are members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (“FARC”), Colombia’s largest rebel group. Additionally, just prior to his death, Jhon Fredy Concha Valbuena had successfully defended and secured the freedom of a group of people accused of illegal mining in the Cauca River.
On February 1, 2017, criminal lawyer Jorge Enrique Belalcázar Gutierrez was shot in the shoulder by a sicario while driving his vehicle in the San Nicolás neighbourhood of the city of Cali. According to reports, Jorge Enrique Belalcázar Gutierrez had previously been denied protection by Colombia’s National Protection Unit.
The Law Society of Upper Canada is deeply concerned about the mounting violence against lawyers in Colombia and urges the Government of Colombia to comply with Colombia’s obligations under international human rights laws, including the United Nations’ Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.
El Observatorio Internacional de Abogados en Riesgo (OIAD), entre otras organizaciones, hace un llamamiento urgente a las autoridades colombianas para que adopten medidas de protección que garanticen la vida y la seguridad del abogado penalista Jorge Enrique Belalcázar Gutiérrez, herido tras recibir un disparo cuando se encontraba dentro de su coche a plena luz del día el pasado 1 de febrero.
El OIAD ha hecho público el siguiente comunicado:
“Las entidades abajo firmantes expresan su profunda preocupación por los repetidos ataques y amenazas a la integridad personal y profesional de los abogados y abogadas colombianas en el desempeño de su labor profesional. En este sentido desean expresar su más enérgica condena del asesinato que terminó con la vida del abogado Jhon Fredy Concha Valbuena el pasado 24 de enero 2017 y el atentado frustrado que se cometió contra el abogado Jorge Enrique Belalcázar Gutiérrez el pasado 1 de febrero 2017. Ambos ataques tuvieron lugar en la ciudad de Cali.
DESCRIPCIÓN DE LOS HECHOS
Según las informaciones recibidas, el abogado Jorge Enrique Belalcázar Gutiérrez, fue abordado en un semáforo cuando se encontraba dentro de su vehículo y recibió un disparo a la altura de la clavícula que por fortuna no le causó la muerte. Cabría destacar que el ataque tuvo lugar a plena luz del día en la Calle 11 con Carrera 7 a pocos metros de la sede de la Dirección Seccional de Fiscalía y de la Gobernación del Valle del Cauca. En la fecha y hora en la que se emite el presente comunicado, no se tiene constancia de que al abogado Jorge Enrique Belalcázar Gutiérrez le hayan sido otorgadas las medidas de protección solicitadas a la Unidad Nacional de Protección.
(2016) 41(4) AltLJ 290
Attacks on lawyers are increasing around the world, and represent a significant threat to the rule of law and democracy. They include extra judicial killings, disappearances, political imprisonments and torture, revocation of licences to practice among many forms of interference with a lawyer’s professional duty. They are usually aimed at human rights lawyers and legal critics of government policies.
Australia has not been immune, with a Melbourne lawyer slain a few years ago and a judge some years earlier. There we have also seen unprecedented attacks by the media and political figures on the judges who decided that Brexit must be authorised by Parliament.
The International Association of People’s Lawyers’ list of countries where there have been attacks on lawyers has grown to 115, about 20 per cent in Africa. Recently, human rights lawyers were assassinated in Kenya and Nigeria. In October 2016, at Nairobi, Kenya, the Pan African Lawyers Union Conference devoted a session to the problem.
In China the entire human rights lawyer community is under sustained attack. All have been sanctioned with a wide range of punishments, including prison, torture and loss of licence to practice. At a meeting in Brussels in November, representatives of European legal professional societies and lawyer activist groups met to plan activities for the 7th annual Day of the Endangered Lawyer, 24 January 2017 which focuses on China. In Australia, the Australian Lawyers for Human Rights is organising events for the day. Hopefully the professional societies will join their European colleagues and those in other countries to give support to the brave Chinese lawyers.
December 9, 2016
Of course, everybody has their own personal history. In my life, I grew up in a poor family, in a poor village in Colombia, so I saw all of the injustice related to that from a very early age. At university I was a student leader and I worked with trade unions. When I became a lawyer, I represented social causes. For most of my professional career over the last 22 years, I have worked in a collective of lawyers, an organisation which PBI protects.
Colombia is a large country, very beautiful and very rich in resources. Officially, Colombia is a democratic state, with elected presidents, strong laws and a very good constitution. This contrasts entirely with the reality – the country has endured an armed conflict for nearly fifty years and is notorious for having a humanitarian crisis and grave and widespread violations human rights. It’s a country in which 10% of the population is displaced and where there are attacks against unionists and civilians, massacres of rural populations and sexual attacks against women. The country has two faces.
Before the arrival of PBI, there was always a lot of anxiety about assassinations and attacks on our collective of lawyers. Many of us carried guns to protect and defend ourselves. I think all human rights defenders know of the risks and freely decide to accept them. It might seem a little perverse, but we have worked in these conditions for our whole careers so we have become accustomed to living like this.