Side event: Lawyers Under Threat in OSCE Region. Tomorrow 25 September from 18.15-19.45 at the Warsaw National Stadium in the Plenary Hall.
(Lawyers for Lawyers Facebook, 24/09/19)
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August 13, 2019
The Prosecutor General’s Office of Tajikistan has appointed a re-examination of the allegation of torture against lawyer Abdulaziz Abdurahmonzoda: anti-corruption officers knocked out his tooth during his arrest.
🇹🇯 IBAHRI is deeply concerned by the recently published information that a Tajik lawyer Mr Abdulaziz Abdurahmonzoda has been illegally detained and tortured by the operative forces of Tajikistan. Attacks against the legal profession, including unlawful detentions, strongly undermine the lawyers’ ability or willingness to undertake certain cases or represent certain clients, and in turn jeopardize the rule of law and access to justice principles. Prohibition of torture is a jus cogens norm and an absolute prohibition under both Tajik and international law, that cannot be justified under any circumstances.
Given the seriousness of the matter, we therefore call on the Prosecutor General’s Office of Tajikistan to conduct a fair and impartial investigation into these disturbing allegations and ultimately hold responsible persons to account.
(International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute Facebook, 15/08/19)
July 4, 2019
The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) today announces the release of a report on a trial observation conducted in Myanmar into the proceedings taken against four accused charged with the murder of U Ko Ni, a prominent lawyer. The IBAHRI welcomes the concern evidenced by Government of Myanmar officials regarding the need to respond vigorously to the murder of the leading human rights lawyer. However, as the observers who attended the trial from 16 June 2017 to 15 February 2019 noted many instances where basic rights for those accused were not respected, the IBAHRI emphasises that it is vital to uphold essential human rights in the criminal process taken against those accused.
The report, The murder of U Ko Ni: IBAHRI trial observation highlights fair trial concerns in Myanmar, reveals the conduct of Myanmar’s authorities as having fallen significantly short of both international and domestic legal standards which safeguard the accused’s right to a fair trial. The report identifies a number of serious breaches of fundamental human rights, including: failure of police to follow legal procedures; continued detention of those accused of bailable offences; allegations of torture and ill-treatment during detention; intimidation of witnesses; denial of access to a lawyer during pre-trial detention; failure of the court to exclude evidence obtained unlawfully; obstruction of the defence’s access to evidence; failure to respond to threats against lawyers; inappropriate deference towards the testimonies of Buddhist monks; and imposition of the mandatory death penalty.
July 2, 2019
On 1 July 2019, Lawyers for Lawyers together with Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada and the Human Rights Institute of the International Bar Association delivered a joint oral statement to the Human Rights Council on the attacks on lawyers in China, Philippines, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. The statement was delivered during the 41st session of the Council.
The statement reads as follows:
In countries where lawyers are imprisoned and prosecuted for defending rights, there is no equal access to justice or protection of rights.
In China, numerous human rights lawyers have been disappeared, arbitrarily imprisoned, tortured, or disbarred. In Saudi Arabia, lawyer Waleed Abu al-Khair is one of hundreds of rights defenders arbitrarily convicted and detained. In Turkey, 311 lawyers have been arbitrarily convicted and detained since July 2016. In the Philippines, 40 jurists are among the “staggering number” of victims of extrajudicial killings since July 2016. Last month, eleven Special Procedures mandate holders called for an independent investigation of grave abuses in the Philippines.
We urge Council to:
INTERNATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATION’S HUMAN RIGHTS INSTITUTE (IBAHRI)
April 12, 2019
Following the announcement of the ousting of Sudan’s President Omar Al Bashir and the Defence Minister, Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf, assuming leadership of the country, the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) calls on the army and transitional government to ensure respect for human rights and the rule of law in Sudan.
IBAHRI Co-Chair, the Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG, stated: ‘While not wishing to comment on the legality or otherwise of this transition, it must be emphasised that it is imperative that human rights and the rule of law are respected. The overthrowal of a brutal tyranny must not be the occasion of new and gross violations of human rights. The military must ensure that the state of emergency called for the next two months is not used as an excuse to undermine fundamental human rights. The violations that have accompanied the protests cannot continue. In addition, individuals arbitrarily arrested and detained during the protests that preceded this transition must be immediately released.’
In December 2018, increased prices on fuel, bread and medicine, as well as limits on cash withdrawals, sparked ongoing protests across Sudan. These protests intensified on 6 April 2019 when thousands of protesters gathered outside the residence of then President Al Bashir to demand his resignation. On 11 April 2019, the Defence Minister, General Ibn Ouf, announced that President Al Bashir had been removed from power and that the army would oversee a two-year transition period until elections take place.
During the December protests, excessive force by the National Intelligence and Security Service, other security forces and police led to the deaths of at least 38 people. Persons connected to demonstrations were arrested and detained, with some reportedly tortured. Many of these detainees were denied access to lawyers, family members and possibly medical assistance. Many remain under detention either pending trial or having been convicted on tenuous charges for their actual or perceived participation in the protests.
January 24, 2019
The Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC) has joined ten other Bar Associations, Law Societies and Legal Organisations in a joint declaration concerning the breakdown of the rule of law and serious threats against the independence of Judges, Lawyers, and Prosecutors in Turkey.
The declaration marks the 9th annual Day of the Endangered Lawyer and, along with BHRC, includes Abogacía Española – Consejo General, Geneva Bar Association–Human Rights Commission, German Bar Association–Human Rights Committee, European Bar Human Rights Institute, Paris Bar Human Rights Institute, International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute, International Observatory for endangered lawyers, Law Society of England and Wales, Lawyers for Lawyers, and Norwegian Bar Association–Human Rights Committee.
The Day of the Endangered Lawyer was founded and is organised by the Foundation for the Day of the Endangered Lawyer based in Harrlem, the Netherlands. The 24th of January was chosen to be the annual International Day of the Endangered Lawyer because on this day in 1977 four lawyers and a co-worker were murdered at their office in Madrid, Spain. This was also known as the Massacre of Atocha.
The Day honours lawyers across the world who put themselves at risk in the fight for human rights and the rule of law. It aims to create awareness that the practice of the legal profession in many countries involves significant risks, but also to denounce the situation in a particular country where lawyers are victims of serious violations of their fundamental rights because of the exercise of their profession. Each year, the persecution of lawyers in a particular country is highlighted, and the Foundation coordinates activities outside of the country’s embassies around the world. Previous Days of the Endangered Lawyer have expressed concern for lawyers in Iran (2010), Turkey (2012), Basque Country/Spain (2013), Colombia (2014), the Philippines (2015), Honduras (2016), China (2017) and Egypt (2018).
In line with the focus for the Day of the Endangered Lawyer for 2019, the joint declaration expressed its concern for lawyers in Turkey:
Barreau de Paris
September 18, 2018
Three international law associations have urged United Nations (UN), enter into urgent dialogue with the Turkish government with a view to ending the persecution and prosecution of legal professionals in the country.
The Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC), the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) and the Law Society of England and Wales have written a 34-page report in relation to breaches of the rights and protections of the legal profession in Turkey and submitted Diego García-Sayán, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers on Tuesday in Geneva.
The report entitled “International Law Breaches Concerning the Independence of Legal Profession in Turkey” which was submitted to the UN related to human rights violations which have occurred and are occurring since the controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, and examines the position post the ending of the State of Emergency in Turkey.
“Primarily, new laws place in a statutory framework the pre-existing threats to the independence of the legal profession, including arbitrary arrest and detention, dismissals, and breaches of the right to a fair trial and due process,” said the international law associations in their joint letter in which they presented the report to UN’s García-Sayán.
June 28, 2018
During HRC 38, IBAHRI co-organised a UN side event with the #LawSocietyand #BHRC on the state of emergency and the independence of the legal profession in #Turkey. The discussion focused on the systematic persecution of lawyers and threats to the rule of law since the attempted coup in 2016. Watch event: https://vimeo.com/277104106
IBAHRI also delivered an oral statement on behalf of five other organisations on widespread human rights violations against Turkish lawyers.