Tag Archives: Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada

Turkey: International Law Obligations to Release Lawyer Eren Keskin | Letter

July 21, 2019

Mr. Abdulhamit Gül
Minister of Justice
06659 Kizilay
Ankara, Turkey

We write on behalf of Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), a committee of lawyers and human rights defenders who promote international human rights, the independence and security of human rights defenders, the integrity of legal systems and the rule of law through advocacy, education and legal research. LRWC has Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

LRWC has written in the past with respect to various Turkish lawyers and human rights defenders who have been detained, arrested, charged, and/or imprisoned in violation of Turkey’s international human rights law obligations and Turkey’s own Constitution. Communications to the Government of Turkey have been made by LRWC regarding the cases of: Selçuk Kozağaçlı, Şebnem Korur Fincancı, Ramazan Demir, Erin Keskin, Mustafa Aydin, Can Tombul, Taner Kilic and numerous other Turkish lawyers. LRWC has also made oral and written statements to the UN Human Rights Council and submissions to the UN Human Rights Council and Special Procedures regarding widespread persecution of lawyers, journalists and other human rights defenders through wrongful prosecutions and convictions, arbitrary detention and other grave rights violations.

We have previously written to you regarding Turkish lawyer Eren Keskin, most recently on 5 April 2019. Ms Keskin has been the target of an ongoing campaign of political and judicial harassment, having been charged and convicted on multiple occasions with respect to alleged crimes that would not be considered crimes in any country governed by the rule of law. We understand that Ms. Keskin was most recently sentenced (on 21 May 2019) to a term of imprisonment of 3 years and 9 months in relation to charges of “propaganda on behalf of a terrorist organization” under Article 7(2) of the Anti-Terrorism Law.

LRWC is once again gravely concerned regarding the continuing and unjust persecution of lawyer Eren Keskin. The criminal charges are illegitimate and unfounded.  This prison sentence, combined with prior and pending charges, could subject Ms. Keskin to an extremely lengthy prison term that effectively could see Ms. Keskin die in prison.

Turkey: International Law Obligations to Release Lawyer Eren Keskin | Letter

http://www.barhumanrights.org.uk/bhrc-joins-international-coalition-of-legal-organisations-raising-concern-for-turkeys-lawyers-and-judges/

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

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Rights_Association_(Turkey)

https://www.jiyanhaber.net/avukat-eren-keskin-kurt-askere-yonelik-linc-iddialarini-paylasti/ (TURKCE)

https://www.ihd.org.tr/ (TURKCE)

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eren_Keskin (FRANCAIS)

https://www.ordineavvocaticagliari.it/docs/news_22_07_2019_23982.pdf?fbclid=IwAR1LLJy9a27NoCV3hqefkxS6s_ps87hlvvQrmetJgNB9FfgLQytmK5SBk1o (ITALIANO)

The Philippines: Killing the lawyers: 43 jurists murdered in the Philippines since 2016 | Report

July 5, 2019

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Killing the lawyers:* 43 jurists murdered in the Philippines since 2016

 Extrajudicial killing of jurists as part of a pattern of widespread and systematic violations of human rights

Report
Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada

5 July 2019

Contents

  1. Introduction. 1
  2. The Philippines’ persistent pattern of gross and systematic human rights violations. 3
  3. International law obligations. 4
  4. National legal obligations. 4
  5. Systematic impunity for extrajudicial killings. 5
  6. Conclusion and recommendations. 5
  7. Appendix: Jurists killed in the Philippines since July 2016 in date order of murder 7

1.     Introduction

Since 30 June 2016, the Government of the Philippines has engaged in a continuing, gross, and systematic campaign of extrajudicial killing in violation of the Philippines’ international law obligations. Since President Rodrigo Duterte (President Duterte) took office on 30 June 2016, an estimated 27,000[1] persons, including children,[2] have been extrajudicially killed with impunity, as part of a “war on drugs.” The Philippines’ official number is 6,600.[3] Among the victims are 43 lawyers, prosecutors and judges (jurists) assassinated between August 2016 and May 2019 and numerous human rights defenders (defenders). This pattern of gross and systematic violations contravenes the Philippines’ obligation to prevent and remedy violations of the right to life. The widespread murders of jurists also causes violations of the rights to legal representation and a fair trial.

In only five cases are suspects in custody or charges pending against a suspect. In the remaining  cases there appears to have been no effective investigation or minimal progress on investigations. In addition to the 43 jurists murdered, eight lawyers have survived murderous attacks, and one has been abducted and disappeared. A court worker and two paralegals are also among those extrajudicially killed. A list of the 43 jurists with dates of death and status of investigations as of 10 June 2019 is found in the Appendix to this report.

Philippines: Killing the lawyers: Forty jurists murdered in the Philippines since 2016 | Report

https://www.lrwc.org/

Philippines: failure to investigate killings demands UN action

Attacks on Philippines Lawyers 10 June 2019 (1) (IAPL MONITORING COMMITTEE REPORT)

PH’s disinformation campaign in Geneva

China: Chinese Rights Lawyer, Wife Made Homeless After Police Pressure Landlord

July 3, 2019

Lawyer Xie Yanyi (R) and his wife Yuan Shanshan (C) on a family outing, in undated photo.

A prominent rights lawyer detained during a nationwide crackdown on his profession by the ruling Chinese Communist Party has been made homeless along with his family, after police forced them to leave their rented accommodation in a suburb of Beijing.

Xie Yanyi was released from criminal detention on bail in January 2017, buthasn’t been able to practice law, as the authorities have refused to renew his license.

Xie and his wife Yuan Shanshan were recently forced to move yet againfrom their rented home in Miyun, a town on the outskirts of Beijing, when their landlord refused to renew their lease, citing pressure from the local police, the Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch website reported.

Fellow rights lawyer Li Jinglin said their treatment was similar to that meted out to many colleagues and their families.

“Lawyers are getting together to mitigate the hardship faced by the families of detained rights lawyers,” Li said.

“Everyone contributes a little money to the fund every month, to help out people whose husbands are in jail, or families who are in difficulty,” he said.

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/lawyer-homeless-07032019143950.html

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/xie-yanyi-assaulted-detained

Xie Yanyi

https://www.ishr.ch/news/hrc41-lawyers-are-key-rule-law-china-says-so-freethem-now

China: Joint Statement to the 41st Session of the UN Human Rights Council | Joint Statement

China/The Philippines/Saudi Arabia/Turkey: Statement: Attacks on lawyers in China, Philippines, Saudi Arabia and Turkey

July 2, 2019

Statement: Attacks on lawyers in China, Philippines, Saudi Arabia and Turkey

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:

Mr. President,

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:

Statement: Attacks on lawyers in China, Philippines, Saudi Arabia and Turkey

Turkey: International law obligations to release lawyer Eren Keskin

April 5, 2019

Image result for Eren Keskin

Re: International law obligations to release lawyer Eren Keskin

We write on behalf of Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), a committee of lawyers and human rights defenders who promote international human rights, the independence and security of human rights defenders, the integrity of legal systems and the rule of law through advocacy, education and legal research. LRWC has Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

LRWC has written in the past with respect to various Turkish lawyers and human rights defenders who have been detained, arrested, charged, and/or imprisoned in violation of Turkey’s international human rights law obligations and of the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey. Communications to the Government of Turkey have been made by LRWC regarding the cases of: Selçuk Kozağaçlı, Şebnem Korur Fincancı, Ramazan Demir, Erin Keskin, Mustafa Aydin, Can Tombul, Taner Kilic and other members of the Turkish legal profession. LRWC has also made oral and written statements to the UN Human Rights Council and submissions to the UN Human Rights Committee and Special Procedures regarding widespread persecution of lawyers, journalists and other human rights defenders through wrongful prosecutions and convictions, arbitrary detention and other grave rights violations.

LRWC is once again gravely concerned regarding the continuing and unjust persecution of lawyer Eren Keskin. Ms. Keskin has been convicted on criminal charges that are illegitimate and unfounded and faces numerous other charges that are equally baseless but could result in lengthy consecutive prison sentences that could keep Ms. Keskin incarcerated for life.

Background of Ms. Keskin

Ms. Keskin, 59 years of age, is a lawyer and vice-president of the Human Rights Association in Turkey (İHD) and the co-founder of the Legal Aid For Women Who Were Raped Or Otherwise Sexually Abused by National Security Forces. She has been a strong advocate for fundamental rights and freedoms in Turkey, especially for the Kurds, women and the LGBTQ community. As a human rights advocate for almost thirty years, Ms Keskin has contributed to the protection of minority rights, countered violence against women, campaigned to end torture and challenged militarism.

Ms. Keskin is an internationally recognized human rights defender.

https://www.lrwc.org/turkey-international-law-obligations-to-release-lawyer-eren-keskin/

http://bianet.org/english/freedom-of-expression/207317-verdict-of-release-for-grant-holder-of-newspaper-kemal-sancili?bia_source=rss

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

https://anfnewstv.com/keskin-dunyayi-direnenler-degistirir/ (TURKCE)

https://alevinet.com/2019/04/10/keskin-dunyayi-direnenler-degistirir/ (TURKCE)

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eren_Keskin (FRANCAIS)

http://www.schattenblick.de/infopool/buerger/amnesty/baak1906.html (DEUTSCH)

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eren_Keskin (DEUTSCH)

N.B.: Eren Keskin stands trial, yet again, on April 10, 2019.

 

Saudi Arabia: Nomination of Waleed Abu al-Khair for the 2019 ABA International Human Rights Award | Joint Letter

March 29, 2019

Waleed Abu al-Khair, unlawfully imprisoned for his work as a human  rights lawyer since 15 April 2014, has been nominated for the 2019
American Bar Association Human Rights Award jointly by LRWC, Lawyers for  Lawyers, Union Internationale des Avocats and the Law Society of England  and Wales.

JOINT NOMINATION LETTER

In accordance with the request of the American Bar Association (ABA) for nominees for the 2019 ABA International Human Rights Award, the following organizations —Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), Lawyers for Lawyers (L4L), the Law Society of England and Wales (LSEW) and the Union Internationale des Avocats (UIA) —recommend and nominate human rights lawyer Waleed Abu al-Khair of Saudi Arabia for the 2019 ABA International Human Rights Award.

Waleed Abu al-Khair is one of the best-known advocates for democratic and human rights reform in Saudi Arabia.  He has used the written and spoken word coupled with his legal knowledge to fearlessly advocate for reforms to improve the lives of all in Saudi Arabia by calling on the Government of Saudi Arabia to allow its citizens to enjoy internationally protected rights to freedom of expression, association, assembly and the right to participate directly and indirectly in public affairs.  He has done this work through writing and public speaking, by representing causes and clients unpopular with the Government of Saudi Arabia, by providing a safe space for peaceful discussion of issues of public concern and by providing people with an example of responsible advocacy for justice for all.  At the risk of his own personal and professional safety and security, Waleed Abu al-Khair persisted in using his training and skills as a lawyer to be an outspoken advocate for an elected parliament, an independent judiciary, a constitutional monarchy and recognition of internationally protected human rights. He has also advocated on behalf of prisoners of conscience and written many articles identifying human rights abuses and the need for legal reform. He recommended reliance on the rule of law and proper legal procedures to effect reform and settle disputes and differences of opinion and never advocated or used violence as a means of opposition.

https://www.lrwc.org/saudi-arabia-nomination-of-waleed-abu-al-khair-for-the-2019-aba-international-human-rights-award-joint-letter/

https://www.lrwc.org/saudi-arabia-waleed-abu-al-khair-update-wgad/

https://www.lrwc.org/saudi-arabia-arbitrary-detention-of-samar-badawi-working-paper/

https://www.ifex.org/saudi_arabia/2019/03/25/al-qahtani-mistreatment/

https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/434752-senate-dems-petition-saudi-king-to-release-dissidents-us-citizen

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

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waleed_Abu_al-Khair (FRANCAIS)

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Colombia: Protective Measures for Human Rights Lawyer Adil Meléndez | Letter

March 14, 2019

Pablo Elías González Monguí
Director, Unidad Nacional de Protección
Carrera 63 # 14 – 97
Puente Aranda
Bogotá D.C. 111611
Colombia

Dear Mr González Monguí

Re: Protective measures for human rights lawyer Adil Meléndez

I write on behalf of the Colombian Caravana (hereafter the ‘Caravana’), a UK registered charity that co-organises the International Caravana of Jurists, and the Foundation of the Spanish National Bar Association, the International Observatory of Lawyers, Lawyers for Lawyers and Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada.

During biennial visits to Colombia since 2008, including during the International Caravana of Jurists most recent visit in September 2018, we have called upon the Colombian government to protect the ability of lawyers and human rights defenders to represent their clients, and to refrain from any interferences in their work, in order to comply with both Colombian and international law.

The aforementioned organisations are concerned that in December 2018 Adil Melendez’s bullet proof car was withdrawn by the National Protection Unit (UNP) and instead he was provided with a standard car. Mr Melendez had been provided with an armoured car in recognition of the acute risk he faces as a human rights lawyer; we understand that this acute risk has not diminished.

We were further alarmed when Mr Melendez informed us that one of his two bodyguards, also assigned to him by the UNP, has not provided protection to him since 25 February 2019, when both bodyguards failed to arrive for work. We are informed that the other bodyguard has resumed his work only in the last few days. In effect, for over a week, Mr Melendez has been left without the protection measures granted to him by the UNP and can currently rely on one bodyguard only.

The Caravana works closely with Mr Melendez and has met with him on several occasions, including during our last visit to Colombia, in September 2018. His work is vital to advancing justice and protecting human rights in Colombia, particularly in the Caribbean region. It is understood that he is targeted and threatened as result of his work.

https://www.lrwc.org/colombia-protective-measures-for-human-rights-lawyer-adil-melendez-letter/?fbclid=IwAR3CpMWOrYQBy9kwPkDEwt1B5G3L_FZOyPfQI_M3KUNKshIArKlHcW_W79Q

https://lawyersforlawyers.org/en/lawyers/adil-jose-melendez-marquez/

https://www.elheraldo.co/atlantico/jorge-luis-alfonso-lopez-se-reune-con-victimas-en-la-carcel-de-sabanalarga-573998 (ESPANOL)