Tag Archives: IBA

International Bar Association/China/Turkey/Burma: Human Rights Award 2017 Shortlisted Candidates

Ramazan Demir

Ramazan Demir is a Turkish human rights lawyer, who has in his young career he has made an outstanding contribution to the promotion, protection and advancement of the human rights of all, and of the Kurdish people in Turkey in particular. Since 2009, Ramazan has continued to represent victims, journalists, and lawyers in the Kurdish areas of Turkey. Unfortunately, due to his valuable human rights work, Ramazan has faced serious personal consequences as criminal charges have been brought against him twice. The second time, in April 2016, Ramazan has been charged with terrorist related activities, because of his work for TUAD (an association for relatives of prisoners in Southeast Turkey). Furthermore, the case-file against him clearly shows that his activities as a human rights lawyer and his relationship with the international human rights community were used as grounds for the accusations against him. Despite the fact that the trial is still on-going, Ramazan took up his work for victims of human rights violations again and continues working for them up until today. The next hearing will be on 13 September 2017. Members of the judging panel noted that in terms of Ramazan’s efforts in the protection and advancement of Human Rights, he has made “significant personal endeavours” and in terms of the international impact and sustainability, Ramazan has made “a high impact on defence work in extremely challenging and threatening circumstances”. Lawyers for Lawyers, the organisation that nominated Ramazan, because they believe he is “a prominent and fearless defender of the rule of law and human rights.”


U Ko Ni

U Ko Ni was an activist, lawyer, author and academic. He worked tirelessly against the military dominance in Myanmar, contributing to the repeal of certain controversial laws and vigorously advocating for the amending of the military drafted 2008 Constitution. The 2008 Constitution reserves 25 percent of parliamentary seats for the military, empowers the military to appoint the ministers of defense, home affairs, and border affairs, and allows the military to dissolve the government during a national emergency. In private conversations, U Ko Ni was frank about the need to reform the 2008 Constitution in order to tackle Myanmar’s most serious problems and to strengthen the rule of law. U Ko Ni also became increasingly concerned about the myriad of ways in which Muslims are marginalised and discriminated in Myanmar and was eager to find ways to make a difference, notably through discussing hate speech and hate crimes in Myanmar and potential solutions. Members of the judging panel noted that he was a “significant advocate for protection of minorities in Myanmar” and had an “outstanding track record.” U Ko Ni was assassinated on 29 January 2017, several INGOs and others condemned the assassination. The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), along with the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) and Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada in their joint statement described U Ko Ni as somebody “who strongly advocated against religious discrimination and for inter-communal peace”, and called for “a prompt, impartial and effective investigation capable of identifying all those responsible and holding them accountable in a fair trial.”


Xie Yang

After an attempt to visit Chen Guangcheng, a laywer who was put under house arrest in Shandong province, which ended in a shocking and violent interception, Xie Yang, at the age of 38, made the decision to become a human rights lawyer. From then on, until his arrest in July 2015, Xie Yang represented dozens of human rights cases, confronted China’s human rights abuses and dictatorial ills, and spoke out fearlessly on China’s social media for his belief in democracy and universal human rights. Xie Yang was arrested during China’s ongoing crackdown on human rights lawyers and activists in July 2015, and then was subjected to 6 months of secret detention during which time he was cruelly tortured. Last November, 17 months after his arrest, Xie Yang was finally allowed to see his own lawyers where he requested that a thorough description of the torture he had suffered should be published to expose the widespread use of torture in China. The torture revelations marked a turning point, as the international outcry against torture made it impossible for China to continue its planned trials and sentences. The government signalled that it would release Xie Yang in “due time,” while since late February, Xie Yang’s lawyers have been prevented from meeting him. On May 8, Xie Yang was tried, and in the court and on camera he admitted guilty and denied torture. He was released on that day, but except for a couple of appearances in the company of police, he has been disappeared and his wife and relatives have not been able to contact him. Members of the judging panel noted Xie Yang had given an “outstanding personal sacrifice and commitment to the causes of human rights.”

https://www.ibanet.org/Committees/Divisions/Legal_Practice/IBA-Human-Rights-Award.aspx

China: Approaching the ‘International Day in Support of Victims of Torture,’ a Request to OHCHR and IBA to Address the Torture of Chinese Human Rights Lawyers in the 709 Crackdown

June 23, 2017

This year, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is partnering with the International Bar Association (IBA) to mark the annual International Day in Support of Victims of Torture” on June 26. Through storytelling, social media campaigns, and a panel discussion, they hope to advance their “shared ambition for the absolute prohibition of torture.” This year and the year before, we have begun to learn, with horror, about the torture of Chinese human rights lawyers during the 709 Crackdown. Below is a letter from theChina Human Rights Lawyers Group addressed and delivered to OHCHR and IBA. — The Editors

To the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the International Bar Association:

In the early morning of July 9, 2015, Chinese police began a campaign of mass arrests, interrogations, and warnings against human rights lawyers and rights defenders. Dozens of rights lawyers and other activists were detained; hundreds of lawyers, scholars, and citizens were called in for “chats” and warnings by the police; dozens of lawyers and citizens were prevented from leaving the country.

Whether they were charged with the crime of “subversion of state power,” “inciting subversion of state power,” or the more pedestrian “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” all were subjected to the coercive criminal penal measure known as “residential surveillance at a designated place,” based on the claim that they were a threat to national security.

Residential surveillance at a designated place is a compulsory criminal procedure that was specified, codified, and integrated into China’s “Criminal Procedure Law,” modified in 2012 and implemented in 2013. In the implementation of this procedure, Chinese police have been abusing the relevant clauses, using it to put subjects under completely secret control, torturing them, and acting without accountability and restraint.

The torture that 709 lawyers have been subjected to during residential surveillance at a designated place has been made clear in the transcripts of interviews of lawyer Xie Yang provided by his defense counsel Chen Jiangang.

Approaching the ‘International Day in Support of Victims of Torture,’ a Request to OHCHR and IBA to Address the Torture of Chinese Human Rights Lawyers in the 709 Crackdown

IBA: IBA Human Rights Award

April 13, 2017

Each year, the IBA present an award to an outstanding lawyer in the world of human rights law.

Established in 1947, the International Bar Association (IBA) is the world’s leading organisation of international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. The IBA influences the development of international law and shapes the future of the legal profession throughout the world. It has a membership of over 55,000 individual lawyers and 195 bar associations and law societies spanning all continents. Grouped into two divisions – the Legal Practice Division (LPD) and the Public and Professional Interest Division (PPID) – the IBA covers all practice areas and professional interests, providing members with access to leading experts and up-to-date information.

The IBA has always been dedicated to promoting and protecting human rights and the independence of the legal profession under a just rule of law. The IBA’s Human Rights Institute was established in 1995 under the honorary presidency of Nelson Mandela. The IBAHRI is an independent entity within the Public and Professional Interest Division (PPID) of the IBA. The Section on Public and Professional Interest (SPPI) sits within the PPID and within that entity, there is also a Human Rights Committee.

The award will be made to a legal practitioner (whether in private practice, public interest, employment as a legal adviser, academia, bar leadership or other regulation of the profession) who, through personal endeavour in the course of such practice, is deemed to have made an outstanding contribution to the promotion, protection and advancement of the human rights of all, or any group of, people, particularly with respect to their right to live in a fair and just society under the rule of law.

http://www.ibanet.org/Committees/Divisions/Legal_Practice/IBA-Human-Rights-Award.aspx

Day of the Endangered Lawyer/China: IBAHRI

January 24, 2017

Today, on the Day of the Endangered Lawyer, the IBAHRI stands in solidarity with the international community and calls to attention the threats that many lawyers around the world continue to face when carrying out their work.

The IBAHRI regularly advocates for the protection and independence of legal professionals, in order that they may perform their professional duties and have their human rights respected and defended.

Throughout 2016, the IBAHRI has urged national authorities to address various instances of harassment and maltreatment aimed at lawyers involved with defending human rights, including:

  • Azerbaijan (April 2016): Charges remain against human rights lawyer Intigam Aliyev in Azerbaijan after his release from imprisonment.
  •  China (June 2016): Lawyer Wu Liangshu was assaulted in a Chinese courtroom while attempting to file a case.

http://www.ibanet.org/Article/NewDetail.aspx?ArticleUid=7d0e2978-5b04-44f7-8002-b7b3d5c86785

IBA: Lawyers under attack: Message from the IBA President

July 28, 2016

Shakespeare is often quoted by those seeking to undermine lawyers: ‘The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers’, says Dick the Butcher in Henry VI, Part II. But this rebel was in fact recognising that, in order to carry out his rebellion, the lawyers and judges who defend the rule of law and order in society would have to be eliminated. Today, authoritarian regimes are unfortunately following that same game plan.

Lawyers are under attack in multiple countries whose leaders wish to impose their own version of law. In Malaysia, the government seeks to adopt amendments to the Legal Profession Act 1976 that would effectively impose government control over the Bar by, among other things, appointing government representatives to sit on the Bar Council, and empowering the minister in charge of legal affairs to determine the electoral rules and regulations of the Bar. Government members of the Bar Council would be required to report on Bar Council meetings, which would make it impossible for Council members to speak confidentially. It would inevitably limit the Council’s ability to speak out or take action against the Government when necessary. Other proposed amendments would create unmanageable and unnecessary quorum requirements and other measures designed to restrain the Bar Council’s ability to protect the rule of law and the independence of lawyers.
In Turkey, following the unsuccessful coup attempt, President Erdogan quickly removed more than 2,500 judges from their positions, as well as substantial numbers of prosecutors, and many of them have been arrested and detained.

http://www.ibanet.org/Article/Detail.aspx?ArticleUid=3EAEFA19-1368-42FE-8C3E-DC1DE19DDD0E