Tag Archives: Human Rights Watch

SUBMISSION TO THE COMMITTEE OF ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS ON INTERFERENCE ON FOREIGN LAWYER’S RIGHT TO PRACTISE IN HKNSL CASES IN HONG KONG

16/01/23

Executive Summary

  • Article 6(2) of the ICESCR warrants the full realisation of the right to work, which includes providing “conditions safeguarding fundamental political and economic freedoms to the individual”
  • Concerning the right to work for foreign legal practitioners from other common-law jurisdictions, the HKSAR Government fails to provide valid reasons as to why they are welcomed to practise in the territory in other areas of law but to the exception of cases relating to the HKNSL
  • The HKSAR Government interferes with the enforcement of the norm by seeking intervention from China’s Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, albeit the highest court in the city ruled against the HKSAR Government, as shown in the legal disputes concerning Jimmy Lai Chee-ying hiring a British barrister to represent him
  • The HKSAR fails to provide explanation on factors justifying the deviation from the norm and also deviation from the fulfilment of the right to work as stated in Article 6 of the ICESCR

With Reference to the Committee’s List of Issue (E/C.12/CHN-HKG/Q/4) and the corresponding Replies by Hong Kong, China (“HKSAR”) (E/C.12/CHN/RQ-HKG/4), this bulletin gathers and presents information regarding the restrictions on foreign lawyers to practise in cases relating to the Hong Kong National Security Law (“HKNSL”). The full realisation of lawyers’ economic right to work which is an integral part of the ICESCR as enshrined in Article 6 is concerned here.

Restricting lawyers’ economic rights to suppress their protection of the proper exercise of human rights

We strongly urge clarification from HKSAR on its compliance with its treaty obligations under the ICECSR despite the information and the established fact patterns above which suggest otherwise.

https://29principles.uk/en/contents/submission-committee-economic-social-and-cultural-rights-interference-foreign-lawyer%E2%80%99s

https://29principles.uk/en/contents/submission-committee-economic-social-and-cultural-rights-restriction-human-rights-lawyers%E2%80%99

https://www.hrw.org/news/2023/01/26/china-free-white-paper-protesters

https://www.dw.com/en/china-zhang-zhans-prison-letter-offers-hope-and-fear/a-64291913

https://edition.cnn.com/2023/01/22/china/china-zero-covid-protesters-detained-beijing-intl-hnk/index.html

The Philippines: Lawyer, process server shot in Leyte demolition

25/01/23

A lawyer and a process server were shot and wounded while serving a demolition order to a farmer in Barangay Cavite West, Palo, Leyte, on Wednesday morning, Jan. 25.

The victims were identified as Alexander Lacaba, 60, a private practitioner, and Adolfo Petilla, 59, the process server of Branch 43, Regional Trial Court here.

Initial police report disclosed that Sheriff Danilo Obediencia, together with the victims, and a representative from the Commission on Human Rights were implementing a writ of demolition against the property occupied by the suspect, Conrado Boren Sr., 67.

The suspect reportedly fired at the demolition team, wounding the victims who were brought to the nearest hospital.

Boren was arrested by police escorting the demolition team. Recovered from his possession was a caliber .45 with three empty shells and a misfired cartridge.

Charges for two counts of frustrated murder and violation of Republic Act 10591 (Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunition) are now being prepared against the suspect.

https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/topstories/regions/858598/lawyer-court-staff-hurt-in-shooting-incident-during-demolition-ops/story/

https://www.thenation.com/article/world/leila-de-lima-philippines-imprisonment/

https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/01/25/23/abogado-court-employee-pinagbabaril-sa-leyte (TAGALOG)

Pakistan: Senior lawyer Latif Afridi killed in Peshawar High Court bar room firing

16/01/23

Former Supreme Court Bar Association president and senior lawyer Latif Afridi was killed during firing inside the Peshawar High Court (PHC) bar room on Monday, according to the police.

He was moved to the Peshawar Lady Reading Hospital immediately after the incident where he succumbed to his injuries during medical treatment, facility’s spokesperson Muhammad Asim said.

Meanwhile, Senior Superintendent of Police Kashif Abbassi told Dawn.com that Afridi was sitting with other lawyers in the PHC bar room when a gunman opened fire at him.

“The police have arrested the accused and identified him as Adnan Afridi,” the officer said, revealing that the attacker was related to Afridi.

He told Dawn.com that a small weapon, an identity card and a student card have been recovered from the attacker.

Abbassi further said that the police suspected the attack was carried out because of “personal enmity”.

The attacker’s cousin Aftab Afridi — an anti-terrorism judge in Swat — was killed in a firing incident last year. Latif Afridi and his family members were nominated in the case but were later acquitted by an anti-terrorism court in Swabi.

On the other hand, the Peshawar High Court Bar Association termed the incident a “security lapse” and questioned how a man with a weapon managed to reach the bar room.

It is pertinent to mention that the PHC bar room is located inside the premises of the high court. Tight security is regularly deployed at the entrance of the PHC and people are only allowed to enter upon showing their identity cards.

[…]

https://www.dawn.com/news/1731943

https://www.hrw.org/news/2023/01/17/prominent-pakistan-rights-lawyer-gunned-down-court

https://bdnews24.com/world/south-asia/czn6a62k8c

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/jan/16/prominent-pakistani-lawyer-abdul-latif-afridi-shot-dead-court-peshawar

https://www.geo.tv/latest/465393-former-scba-president-latif-afridi-injured

https://www.rferl.org/a/pakistan-lawyer-shot-dead-afridi/32225360.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latif_Afridi

https://www.voadeewanews.com/a/prominent-pashtun-lawyer-shot-dead/6919975.html (PASHTO)

https://www.lefigaro.fr/international/pakistan-un-avocat-de-renom-tue-par-un-collegue-au-tribunal-20230116 (FRANCAIS)

Russian Invasion Upends Life for Ukrainian Lawyers, a Year Later

13/01/23

Adam Mycyk was asleep in his home in Kyiv, Ukraine in late February 2022 when the blare of missile strikes shook him awake.

His mind raced. Where’s the nearest bomb shelter? What if the electric grid is hit?

The Dentons partner then spent the first day of Russia’s invasion scrambling to organize coverage for companies he advises.

“I was in the middle of two deals at that point—maybe three—that were mostly Ukraine-related, but cross-border in nature,” said Mycyk, 56, a mergers and acquisitions lawyer, in an interview. “These things still had to move forward.”

The Russian invasion has upended the lives of lawyers in Ukraine, forcing them to confront safety, psychological and logistical challenges as they work from a country under siege. Nearly a year after the siege began, the lawyers who fled are carrying on as refugees in foreign countries, wondering when they’ll be able to return.

For those who remain in Ukraine, any sense of normalcy is interrupted by hours of air raid sirens day and night.

“You could have a court hearing, and then the sirens would go off and the court had to adjourn the hearing,” said Roman Hryshyn-Hryshchuk, a CMS Legal Services litigation associate. “Sometimes you had to conduct them while literally hiding in the shelter.”

Hryshyn-Hryshchuk has been in the small, western town of Vyzhnytsia since February, when he left Kyiv to stay with his parents. He is banned from leaving the country and said he’s hesitant to travel between regions as suspicions about runaways or saboteurs escalate among authorities and defense volunteers.

[…]

https://news.bloomberglaw.com/business-and-practice/russian-invasion-upends-life-for-ukrainian-lawyers-a-year-later

https://www.thenationalnews.com/world/europe/2022/12/23/refugee-mothers-share-their-experiences-of-fleeing-war-to-settle-in-the-uk/

https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/12/22/russian-forces-forcibly-disappear-ukrainian-activist

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-64236166

Afghanistan: Day of the Endangered Lawyer 2023

10/01/23

Every year on the 24th of January, the International Day of the Lawyer in Danger mobilises the international community on the difficulties and threats to the practice of law. The situation of lawyers in Afghanistan was chosen for the year 2023. Lawyers have been targeted since the Taliban government took power on 15th of August 2021.

The impossibility or even the prohibition for women to practice their profession and the obligation for men to obtain a new licence under the control of the terrible Taliban Ministry of Justice, undermine the free exercise of lawyers’ profession. Not to mention the dramatic deterioration of the rule of law, jeopardising the lives of thousands of Afghans, including many lawyers, forced to flee or hide in the country.

On the occasion of this international day, the OIAD is organising a conference on the 20th of January 2023 in Lyon entitled “The defence of defence in times of crisis”, which will provide an opportunity to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, but also in Ukraine and Iran.

***

Join us, in person or online, for this mobilisation day. The debates will be fully translated into English, French, Spanish and Italian.

We also invite you to participate in the OIAD’s workshops.

Consult the agenda for the 20th of January 2023 HERE.

Link to register for the conference: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_5s45W-_oQtaFBkzQkAR9vg

[…]

2023: Afghanistan

https://ti.to/BarofIreland/humanrights-jan-2023

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2023/jan/10/pakistan-sends-back-hundreds-of-afghan-refugees-to-face-taliban-repression

https://www.thenationalnews.com/world/europe/2022/12/23/refugee-mothers-share-their-experiences-of-fleeing-war-to-settle-in-the-uk/

https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2023/country-chapters/afghanistan

(DARI)

https://protect-lawyers.org/2022-afghanistan/ (FRANCAIS)

https://www.facebook.com/events/1127125354475919/?ref=newsfeed

https://avocats.be/fr/actualites/avocatsbe-vous-presente-ses-meilleurs-voeux-pour-2023

https://barreau-bordeaux.avocat.fr/categories/agenda-evenements-14931/articles/accueil-de-raana-habibi-avocate-afghane-par-les-avocats-du-barreau-de-bordeaux-1473.htm

https://www.sudouest.fr/justice/bordeaux-une-avocate-afghane-accueillie-le-coeur-ouvert-par-ses-confreres-8135235.php

https://www.cnb.avocat.fr/fr/actualites/le-cnb-poursuit-sa-mobilisation-aupres-des-refugies-afghans-par-lintermediaire-du-fonds-de-dotation

https://www.hrw.org/fr/world-report/2023/country-chapters/383748

(ESPANOL)

https://protect-lawyers.org/it/2022-afghanistan-3/ (ITALIANO)

https://protect-lawyers.org/de/2022-afghanistan-4/ (DEUTSCH)

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=735216241166076

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=563681295171579

Integrated Bar of the Philippines – Negros Occidental condemns lawyer’s killing

24/12/22

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines – Negros Occidental chapter strongly condemned the fatal shooting of Atty. Danny Pondevilla on December 20 at Lacson Street in Bacolod City.

We call upon the authorities, including the police, to exert every legal means to identify the suspect and to bring the perpetrator to justice. IBP Negros Occidental chapter, headed by Atty. Josephine Natalaray, said.

An assault to any member of the legal profession is an assault to the entire community, Natalaray said, in statement issued by IBP Negros Occidental.

Pondevilla, the 47-year-old general manager of Northern Negros Electric Cooperative, was found dead in the driver’s seat of his Honda CRV, with a gunshot wound at the back of his head, according to the police.

The two individuals tagged by the police as “persons of interests” in their investigations, were subjected to paraffin tests. However, the results released on December 22 yielded negative results, PLt. Jonito Pastrana, Police Station 2 officer in charge, said.

Police probers are looking into personal or job related grudges, as among the possible motives behind the death of Pondevilla.

We will continue to be vigilant. We will continue to pursue our goal to let the rule of law prevail, the IBP Negros Occidental further said in a statement.

Bacolod City Police Office director PCol. Thomas Joseph Martir said that they are also looking into CCTV footage from commercial establishments in the area, which could have recorded the commission of the crime.

The creation of a Special Investigation Task Group has been recommended to fast track the investigation into the shooting incident.*

https://www.manilatimes.net/2022/12/25/news/regions/ibp-condemns-pondevillas-killing/1871652

https://www.rappler.com/nation/visayas/gunman-kills-negros-electric-cooperative-manager-bacolod/

https://www.sunstar.com.ph/article/1949338/bacolod/local-news/bacolod-police-form-special-investigation-task-group-on-pondevillas-slay

https://www.sunstar.com.ph/article/1949254/bacolod/local-news/familiaran-urges-authorities-to-solve-killing-of-pondevilla

https://www.sunstar.com.ph/article/1949183/bacolod/local-news/cops-eye-two-angles-behind-slay-of-electric-coop-manager

https://news.abs-cbn.com/spotlight/11/28/22/un-special-rapporteur-singhateh-visits-ph

https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/11/17/philippines-undercounts-recent-drug-war-deaths

#StopKillingLawyers

300 female judges in Afghanistan prior to Taliban capture, none now

23/12/22

Taliban rule in Afghanistan is brutally crushing women’s rights in the country. In August last year, right after capturing Afghanistan, the Talban had imposed restrictions on women’s education, employment, and travel, and had started changing the laws to imprison women inside their homes. To show the world, they took the support of clerics to implement their laws, and then imposed a ban on the women’s government and private sector jobs. To stop the women, the Taliban security forces intimidated women, arrested them, and even kidnapped them.

Khadija Ahmadi, Afghanistan’s women rights worker, said that the Taliban has stopped women from practicing as judges and lawyers in the courts. Prior to the Taliban’s capture of the country, there were around 300 women judges in Afghanistan, and due to the Taliban government, these women had to flee the country.

As per Khadija, the Taliban’s ways are serious as far as women’s social condition and psychological wellbeing is concerned, and the regime wants to establish women as second-class citizens in the country. Particularly, it wants young men and boys to become supremacists and women as objects of use for them and their homes. Because of the restrictions, thousands of families have fled to neighbouring countries like Pakistan, Iran, and Turkey, along with their women.

Pakistan is at the top of the list of countries where a large number of Afghan refugees reached during the last months. Many Afghan students are now studying in Pakistan.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/family-finally-arrives-in-edmonton-after-long-journey-from-afghanistan-1.6693300

https://www.ucalgary.ca/news/long-road-freedom-and-law-school-canada

https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/lawreport/afghanistan-women-judges/14102486

https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/12/1131907

https://reliefweb.int/report/afghanistan/comment-un-high-commissioner-human-rights-volker-turk-reported-ban-women-attending-university-afghanistan

https://unama.unmissions.org/un-afghanistan-condemns-taliban-decision-suspend-women-universities-and-calls-its-immediate-reversal

https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/12/20/afghan-university-women-feared-dark-day

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-64045497

https://www-aljazeera-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.aljazeera.com/amp/news/2022/12/21/afghan-women-devastated-by-taliban-university-ban

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/world/afghan-women-weep-over-university-ban-as-taliban-begin-enforcement

https://www.wionews.com/south-asia/afghan-women-speak-to-wion-as-taliban-dismantles-their-right-to-education-campus-after-campus-545841

https://reliefweb.int/report/afghanistan/statement-response-further-restrictions-girls-education-afghanistan

https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAlc-irrzkqHNQeyYSBrVl9eRsWODVKuFtA

https://www.abajournal.com/news/article/5-aba-projects-that-got-off-the-ground-in-2022

https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20221221-eye-for-an-eye-sharia-justice-returns-to-afghan-courts

https://www.ejiltalk.org/are-all-afghan-women-and-girls-refugees-an-analysis-in-light-of-the-refugee-convention/

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-64065206

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-12-24/calls-ramp-up-to-increase-protection-visas-for/101807390

https://www.lalibre.be/international/asie/2022/12/21/bientot-les-talibans-diront-aux-femmes-quil-est-interdit-de-respirer-S7TA6KCYO5HW5FKTULHEZZDQOY/ (FRANCAIS)

No Reprieve in Burundi

22/12/22

Human Rights Defender Still Detained Despite Acquittal

Good news met bad yesterday in Burundi, as the lawyer Tony Germain Nkina continued to be held in prison despite his recent acquittal, meaning his detention is now illegal.

Nkina, a lawyer who previously worked for a leading Burundian human rights organization, is one of the last people publicly associated with the country’s once thriving human rights movement and still in prison today. In 2020, while visiting a client in Kabarore commune, he was arrested and accused of working with armed groups. He was briefly detained by the intelligence service in Kayanza, then transferred to police detention, and finally to Ngozi prison, where he is currently detained. Last year, the court of Kayanza convicted Nkina of “collaboration with rebels who attacked Burundi,” and sentenced him to five years in prison, despite no evidence being presented against him.

Thankfully, this conviction was overturned by the country’s Supreme Court earlier this month and the case was sent back to the appeal court of Ngozi for retrial. On December 20, that court acquitted him and his co-accused of all charges. It was a rare moment of judicial independence in Burundi. 

Following the good news of his acquittal, Nkina was expecting to be released from prison, but the prosecutor did not sign his release order. Instead, the prosecutor plans to file an appeal of the Ngozi court’s judgement to the Supreme Court. Burundian law provides for the immediate release of a person who has been acquitted, regardless of an appeal. The authorities’ refusal to release him is therefore illegal and his continued detention makes a mockery of the entire judicial system.

[…]

https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/12/22/no-reprieve-burundi

https://www.hrw.org/fr/news/2022/12/22/pas-de-repit-au-burundi (FRANCAIS)

China: Hong Kong activist who staged Tiananmen vigil has conviction overturned

15/12/22

Hong Kong’s top court has overturned the conviction of an activist who tried to stage a Tiananmen Square vigil last year, finding police acted unlawfully.

Lawyer Chow Hang-tung – who was jailed in January – will remain in custody as she faces two other charges under the city’s national security law.

But she won her appeal against her “unauthorised assembly” conviction on Wednesday,

A judge ruled the police hadn’t properly justified the vigil’s ban.

Hong Kong authorities have cited Covid restrictions as the reason for its ban on Tiananmen vigils since 2020.

The city used to be one of the only sites on Chinese territory where authorities allowed tributes.

Ms Chow was arrested in June 2021 for “inciting” the public to take part in that year’s vigil. She had led the Hong Kong Alliance, a group which had organised the annual demonstrations and that year she posted articles on social media and on news sites urging Hong Kongers to turn out or light a candle in tribute.

At her trial in January this year, she was jailed for encouraging the assembly in breach of Covid laws.

Magistrate Amy Chan said she had been “self righteous” in “completely disregarding the law to think that the freedom of assembly was more important than public health”.

However a High Court judge on Wednesday found police had not properly explored the options for how the demonstration could have gone ahead in a Covid-safe manner.

[…]

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-63967780

https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/law-and-crime/article/3203321/incitement-conviction-tiananmen-square-commemoration-activist-quashed-hong-kong-judge

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/B-9-2022-0569_EN.html

https://www.asiasentinel.com/p/hongkong-independent-judiciary-hang-thread

https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/12/13/hong-kong-media-tycoon-trial-travesty

https://www.afr.com/world/asia/jimmy-lai-case-exposes-hong-kong-s-legal-regression-20221213-p5c5v3

https://www.dw.com/zh/%E9%82%B9%E5%B9%B8%E5%BD%A4%E8%B5%A2%E5%BE%97%E4%B8%8A%E8%AF%89-%E8%8E%B7%E5%88%A4%E6%92%A4%E9%94%80%E5%AE%9A%E7%BD%AA%E5%8F%8A%E5%88%A4%E5%88%91/a-64094262 (CHINESE)

https://tw.news.yahoo.com/%E9%84%92%E5%B9%B8%E5%BD%A4%E8%B4%8F%E5%BE%97%E4%B8%8A%E8%A8%B4-%E7%8D%B2%E5%88%A4%E6%92%A4%E9%8A%B7%E5%AE%9A%E7%BD%AA%E5%8F%8A%E5%88%A4%E5%88%91-151300221.html

https://www.france24.com/fr/asie-pacifique/20221214-hong-kong-interdire-une-veill%C3%A9e-pour-tiananmen-est-ill%C3%A9gal-juge-un-tribunal (FRANCAIS)

https://www.courrierinternational.com/article/repression-chow-hang-tung-defend-a-tout-prix-le-droit-de-manifester-a-hong-kong

https://www.amnesty.fr/liberte-d-expression/petitions/10jps2022-chow-hang-tung-hong-kong (SIGNEZ S.V.P.!)

https://www.rfi.fr/es/m%C3%A1s-noticias/20221214-tribunal-de-hong-kong-declara-ilegal-veda-a-vigilia-por-matanza-de-tiananmen (ESPANOL)

https://br.noticias.yahoo.com/tribunal-hk-determina-que-proibi%C3%A7%C3%A3o-122937586.html (PORTUGUES)

Iran Protest Crackdown Targets Lawyers

13/12/22

As Iran’s anti-government protests continue, lawyers who have pledged to provide legal aid to protesters have come under increasing pressure from the country’s judiciary and security forces. Since the beginning of nationwide protests in Iran in September, activists say at least 16 human rights lawyers have been arrested across the country, including four recently in the country’s East Azerbaijan province.

Local sources say dozens of Azerbaijani-Turkish lawyers are coming under increasing government pressure for criticizing the crackdown on demonstrations and providing legal aid to those arrested during anti-government demonstrations. The East Azerbaijan provincial bar association is allegedly also under scrutiny.

A source living inside Iran who is familiar with the lawyers’ cases told VOA that in recent days, four attorneys working in Tabriz, the largest Azerbaijani Turkish population center in northwestern Iran, were sentenced to prison and banned from leaving the country. The source, who declined to speak on the record about the prosecutions for fear of government retaliation, also said the government opened disciplinary files for more than 50 active attorney members of the bar.

East Azerbaijan’s bar association got involved early in the protests over the death of Mahsa Amini, 22, in Iran’s morality police custody. Just a few weeks after nationwide protests erupted, the bar association formed a “Defense Committee” to provide legal aid to those arrested in connection with the protests.

The move was announced in mid-October by Sina Yousefi, an Azerbaijani Turk attorney and the vice chairman of the Human Rights Commission of the bar association. In a social media post, he claimed more than 1,700 people had been arrested in connection with the protests that took place in the city of Tabriz.

Three days later, Iranian security forces arrested Yousefi and then detained three other local lawyers in Tabriz. The lawyers were released on bail after two to six weeks in custody.

Those arrested in the recent anti-government demonstrations in Iran are mostly facing charges such as “spreading propaganda against the Islamic Republic,” “forming group to disturb national security,” and “disturbing public opinion.”

[…]

https://www.voanews.com/a/iran-protest-crackdown-targets-lawyers-/6875121.html

https://iranwire.com/en/prisoners/111258-no-lawyer-no-contact-with-family-two-young-men-in-the-black-holes-of-irans-repressive-system/

https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/12/13/iran-death-sentences-against-protesters

https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/12/1131537

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11535465/Iran-removed-womens-rights-body-lawyer-urges.html

https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/111222/l-iran-deja-prononce-55-condamnations-mort (FRANCAIS)

https://www.france24.com/fr/%C3%A9missions/invit%C3%A9-du-jour/20221208-hirbod-dehghani-azar-avocat-en-iran-le-r%C3%A9gime-ex%C3%A9cute-et-dit-qu-il-ne-va-plus-se-retenir

https://www.fidh.org/fr/regions/asie/iran/iran-les-executions-de-manifestant%E2%8B%85es-exigent-une-reaction

https://www.letemps.ch/monde/deux-pendaisons-dune-semaine-iran-une-troisieme-serait-imminente