Tag Archives: Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada

Turkey: Int’l bar associations urge Turkish gov’t to release all legal professionals and journalists

September 14, 2018

Several international bar associations have urged the Turkish government led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to unconditionally release and drop charges against all legal professionals, defenders and journalists who have been arbitrarily arrested, charged or sentenced without credible evidence and in violation of fair trial guarantees.

The Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), Lawyers for Lawyers (L4L), The Law Society (TLS) and nongovernmental organizations in special consultative status said in a statement to the 39th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council that the situation of judges, lawyers, journalists and human rights defenders in Turkey deteriorated dramatically after a coup attempt by a section of Turkey’s military on July 15, 2016,

“On 20 July 2016, President Erdogan imposed a State of Emergency decree that resulted in widespread, systematic violations of non-derogable rights, including arbitrary deprivation of liberty, torture, and enforced disappearances,” the international lawyers’ associations said, adding, “While the State of Emergency was lifted on 18 July 2018, Turkey passed legislation on 25 July 2018, codifying emergency decree laws for a further three years, that facilitates the arbitrary dismissal of judges and officials, detention without charge for up to 12 days without adequate court oversight, and imposes restrictions on assembly.”

The statement continues as follows:





Turkey: Release 21 Arbitrarily Imprisoned Members of the Istanbul Bar Association | Letter

September 12, 2018

We are writing on behalf of Lawyers Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), a committee of Canadian lawyers who promote human rights and the rule of law internationally. LRWC also provides support to lawyers and other human rights defenders in danger because of their advocacy.

We have written to you in the past with respect to various Turkish lawyers who have either been detained, arrested, charged, and/or imprisoned in violation of international human rights law. Some of the lawyers with respect to whom we have written to you include Ramazan Demir, Erin Keskin, Mustafa Aydin, and others.

Many of these lawyers were found guilty of “membership in an armed terrorist organization” or “propaganda of terrorism”, charges which are ill-defined and for which the evidence against these lawyers is insufficient to justify conviction of any criminal offence. It appears that in some cases, the only evidence on which the conviction was based was that the lawyer was simply been performing his or her job by defending a politically sensitive defendant, or was found guilty “by association” because friends, colleagues or relatives had been under suspicion by the Turkish authorities.


These convictions and sentences are part of an on-going campaign of widespread and systematic persecution of lawyers in Turkey. The goal of such persecution appears to prevent voices of dissent and opposition from being heard and critics from having legal representation. As of 20 August 2018, we understand that Turkey has prosecuted 1,544 lawyers on overly broad charges based on questionable accusations that preclude the right to a defence; 582 lawyers remain under arrest; and 162 lawyers have been sentenced to jail terms ranging from three to 12 years. [1] Such charges include: spreading propaganda for an armed terrorist organisation (Law on Fight against Terrorism, Article 7(2)); denigrating the Republic of Turkey, institutions and organs of the State (Criminal Code (CC), Article 301); insulting the President (CC, Article 299); membership in an armed terrorist organization (CC Article 314(2)); membership in an armed organization with the purpose of committing the offences listed parts four and five of this chapter (CC, Article314 (2)).




Vietnam: Failure to Comply with International Human Rights Obligations | Joint Submission

July 30, 2018

  1. Lawyers for Lawyers (“L4L”) and Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (“LRWC”) jointly submit this report on the state of human rights in Viet Nam, especially in respect of the legal profession, with recommendations for the 32nd session of the UPR Working Group in the UN Human Rights Council in January-February 2019. This report was co-signed by Viet Tan.
  2. L4L is an independent and non-political Netherlands foundation, which was established in 1986 and is funded by lawyers’ donations. L4L promotes the proper functioning of the rule of law through the free and independent exercise of the legal profession around the world. L4L has special consultative status with ECOSOC since 2013.
  3. LRWC is a committee of Canadian lawyers and other human rights defenders who promote human rights and the rule of law through advocacy, education, and legal research. LRWC is a volunteer-run NGO in special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
  4. This submission highlights key concerns regarding Viet Nam’s compliance with its international human rights obligations to guarantee the right to independent counsel as set out in the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers [1] (“Basic Principles”) and other international human rights instruments, focusing the lack of effective guarantees for the functioning of lawyers, including the lack of freedom of expression and association of lawyers. Non-compliance with the Basic Principles undermines the proper functioning of the judicial system, in particular the right to fair trial and effective access to justice.


South Sudan: Detention and Disappearance of Peter Biak Ajak | Letter

August 6, 2018

Your Excellency

Re: Detention and Disappearance of Peter Biak Ajak

Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC) is a committee of lawyers, students and academics who campaign internationally for advocacy rights, advocates in danger, and on rule of law issues. We also engage in legal research and education about international human rights law. I am a lawyer and a partner of a law firm in Canada, Cohen Highley LLP, and I am writing to you to ask that you intervene with respect to proceedings involving the above named individual.

On July 28, 2018 Mr. Peter Biar Ajak, prominent academic and activist and chair of the South Sudan Young Leaders Forum, was arrested by the National Security Service (NSS) at the Juba International Airport as he was preparing to travel to Awiel for a youth forum he organized. Amnesty International reports that this arrears is believed to be linked to the youth forum. Mr. Ajak was presented with an arrest warrant bearing a date that was one week old. He has since been held at the NSS headquarters in JUBA with no access to a lawyer. Mr. Ajak has not been brought before a court and the reason for his detention is unclear.

We urge the authorities of South Sudan to do the following:

  1. Immediately and unconditionally release Peter Biar Ajak;




Turkey: Terminally-ill lawyer Mustafa Aydin released

June 27, 2018

Image result for lawyer Mustafa Aydin

The IBAHRI welcomes the release of terminally-ill lawyer Mustafa Aydin and calls upon the Government of #Turkey to immediately end the arbitrary arrest, prosecution and detention of lawyers in accordance with the UN Basic Principles on the role of lawyers and international human rights law.

Southern Africa Litigation Centre Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada @Fair Trial Watch @Lawyers for Lawyers

(International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute Facebook)





http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/cezaevindeki-kanser-hastasi-avukat-mustafa-aydin-icin-kaygiliyiz-h115806.html (TURKCE)


Image result for lawyer Mustafa Aydin


Vietnam/EU/EP: No Free Trade With UNFree Regimes | Letter

June 10, 2018

90 NGOs including LRWC call on the EU to reject the proposed free trade agreement until Viet Nam releases all political prisoner, including Nguyen Van Dai, and ensures rights to expression and association.

June 6, 2018

  • The Council of the European Union
  • The Members of the European Parliament

We, the undersigned organizations, urge European Union member countries to reject the pending free trade agreement with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

After the European Parliament’s emergency resolution on Vietnam last December, it would be a disgrace if European countries were to ratify free trade with a country that is one of the world’s worst enemies of freedom of expression, freedom of the press, and freedom of association. Over the last year, the Vietnamese authorities have arbitrarily detained scores of peaceful activists and bloggers. Just in April 2018, the Vietnamese authorities conducted five political trials and sentenced ten courageous human rights defenders and bloggers to harsh prison sentences of up to 15 years in prison for peacefully exercising rights to freedom of expression and association. In prison, torture and mistreatment are routinely used to extract confessions and force detainees to plead guilty. It is not unusual for prison officials to deny detained activists appropriate medical treatment.

The European External Action Service condemned the 5 April 2018 conviction and sentencing of Nguyen Van Dai, Le Thu Ha, Pham Van Troi, Nguyen Trung Ton, Nguyen Bac Truyen and Truong Minh Duc, stating these individuals “have peacefully advocated the promotion and protection of human rights as guaranteed by the Vietnamese Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Their sentences are in direct breach of these international obligations, which Vietnam has itself signed up to, and which the European Union expects full respect for.”






https://www.voatiengviet.com/a/nguyen-van-dai-thu-ha-minh-khanh-duc/4433825.html (VIETNAMESE)

https://verbaende.com/news.php/Akkreditierungshinweis-fuer-Medienvertreter-Uebergabe-des-Menschenrechtspreises-des-DRB-an-Nguyen-Van-Dai-in-Berlin?m=122558 (DEUTSCH)

Saudi Arabia/Canada: Detainment of activists brings Saudi-Canadian relationship into question

June 1, 2018

Loujain Al-Hathloul, who was detained alongside several other women’s rights activists by the Saudi Arabian government, is known for posting videos of herself driving to protest the country’s ban on women drivers.

The detainment of former University of British Columbia student and women’s rights activist Loujain Al-Hathloul could put a damper on Canada-Saudi Arabian relations, say legal experts.

Irwin Cotler, a human rights lawyer and former federal justice minister, says the arrest of Al-Hathloul and the current Saudi human rights record bring into question the reformist message of the country’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and the very basis of international trade agreements the country has with Canada.

Gail Davidson, executive director of Vancouver-based Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, described Saudi Arabia’s recent human rights message as “completely false,” and said Canada’s current trade relationship with Saudi Arabia is surprising given the circumstances. She referred to the takeover of the Canadian Wheat Board by a Saudi company, as well as the $15-billion armed vehicles purchase.

“Knowing about their human rights record, I’m surprised at the relationship that Canada has with Saudi Arabia, and the extent to which they have become powerful in Canadian affairs,” she said.








https://www.lemonde.fr/big-browser/article/2018/06/01/une-princesse-saoudienne-posant-au-volant-d-une-voiture-en-une-de-vogue-cree-la-polemique_5308430_4832693.html?utm_term=Autofeed&utm_campaign=Echobox&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook#link_time=1527875752 (FRANCAIS)

https://www.nzz.ch/international/saudiarabien-nimmt-frauenrechtlerinnen-fest-und-erklaert-sie-zu-spionen-ld.1387406 (DEUTSCH)