Tag Archives: Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada

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

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The aforementioned organisations are concerned that in December 2018 Adil Melendez’s bullet proof car was withdrawn by the National Protection Unit (UNP) and instead he was provided with a standard car.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.elheraldo.co/atlantico/jorge-luis-alfonso-lopez-se-reune-con-victimas-en-la-carcel-de-sabanalarga-573998 (ESPANOL)

Saudi Arabia: Nomination of Waleed Abu Al-khair for the Lawyers for Lawyers Human Rights Award 2019

March 3, 2019

Nomination for the Lawyers for Lawyers Human Rights Award 2019
Nominee: Waleed Abu al-Khair of Saudi Arabia
Nominator: Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada
References: Daniel N. Arshak and Tony Fisher

Summary of Work of Nominee
Waleed Abu al-Khair, until silenced, was the most prominent advocate for democratic and human rights reform in Saudi Arabia. Founder of the Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia, he used the written and spoken word coupled with legal knowledge to fearlessly advocate for reforms to improve the lives of all by calling on 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 did this work through writing and public speaking, by providing a safe space for peaceful discussion of issues of public concern and by providing an example of responsible advocacy for justice for all. He represented activists and reformists and advocated for prisoners of conscience. He used his training and skills as a lawyer to advocate for an elected parliament, an independent judiciary, a constitutional monarchy and recognition of internationally protected human rights. He wrote many articles identifying human rights abuses and the need for legal reform, always recommending reliance on the rule of law and proper legal procedures to promote reform and settle disputes and differences of opinion. He never used or advocated violence as a means of opposition or a tool of reform. Waleed Abu al-Khair’s self-less and peaceful advocacy has been recognized by these awards: the Olof Palme Prize (2012), the XXth Ludovic-Trarieux Human Rights International Prize (2015), the Law Society of Ontario Human Rights Award (2017), and the Right Livelihood Award (2018).

Risks experienced by the Nominee
In reprisal for lawful advocacy Saudi Arabia banned Waleed Abu al-Khair from travel (1.04.12) and (2013) prosecuted him. When these charges resulted in a 3-month sentence,  Saudi Arabia re-charged him with similar offenses this time under the Penal Law for Crimes of Terrorism and its Financing to be determined by the Specialized Criminal Court (SCCt).He was arrested (15/04/14) without cause or warrant while before the SCCt.






https://libnanews.com/madaniya-lobby-pro-saoudien-usa-1/ (FRANCAIS)

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

Zimbabwe: Acts of intimidation against Mr. Okay Machisa, Ms. Beatrice Mtetwa and Pastor Evan Magwarire | Letter

February 1, 2019

Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), a committee of lawyers and other human rights defenders, that promotes compliance with international human rights, the integrity of legal systems and the rule of law through advocacy, legal research and education. LRWC has Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

LRWC objects to Zimbabwe’s failure to respect and protect its citizens’ rights as exemplified by the increasing number of citizens who have been arrested and are facing prosecution for participating in peaceful protests. Also of concern are the numbers of lawyers and human rights defenders who have been threatened, arbitrarily detained and arrested in apparent retaliation for exercising their constitutional rights.

The right to freedom of assembly is a fundamental human right and is guaranteed in section 58 of Zimbabwe’s constitution. Furthermore, section 67 guarantees every citizen the right to political participation to engage in peaceful activities to influence, challenge or support the policies of the government. LRWC encourages you to respect these same rights as a signatory to the African Charter of Human and People’s Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Recent incidents include the acts of intimidation against Mr. Okay Machisa, National Executive Director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) along with his family, and many other ZimRights lawyers. Also of concern is the recent arbitrary arrest and detention of Pastor Evan Magwarire on 16 January 2019, who is facing charges of “subverting a constitutional government” and is scheduled for a bail hearing on 29 January 2019. LRWC is also gravely concerned by the recently revealed attempted deportation of Beatrice Mtetwa, a prominent human rights lawyer, to her country of birth Swaziland during the 2013 harmonized election campaign, reports of rapes of women by Zimbawean security forces, the arrests and arbitrary detention of many Zimbabwe citizens and children as young as eleven years old, and the surveillance and intimidation of human rights defenders both within and outside Zimbabwe on their alleged involvement in the protest.











https://www.voaafrique.com/a/les-avocats-du-zimbabwe-reclament-justice-pour-les-manifestants-emprisonn%C3%A9s/4763583.html (FRANCAIS)

https://www.fidh.org/fr/regions/afrique/zimbabwe/zimbabwe-la-repression-des-manifestations-pacifiques-doit-cesser-les (FRANCAIS)

http://www.ludovictrarieux.org/ (FRANCAIS)

Canada/Turkey: Lawyers in Turkey Under Attack Seminar | Event (Vancouver)

January 16, 2019


Held on January 24th each year since 2010, the Day of the Endangered Lawyer provides an opportunity to learn about the personal and professional safety of lawyers in a selected country facing persecution, prosecution, arbitrary detention, threats, torture, assaults and death as a consequence of carrying out their professional duties. The focus this year is on lawyers in Turkey. Between July 2016 and 1 January 2019 alone there have been 594 lawyers arrested, 1546 prosecuted and 216 sentenced to a total of 1,361 years in prison.

Join us at the UBC Allard School of Law and learn what you can do to assist

Date: January 24
Time: 12:30 to 2:00 pm
Location: UBC Faculty of Law, Allard Hall, Room 104

Sponsored by Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC)

Presentations by Brian Samuels Q.C., Ozge Yazar and Mehmet Kilic will be followed by Q & A

  • Brian Samuels Q.C. Vancouver-based barrister, LRWC Director and Turkey Monitor;
  • Mehmet Kilic, President of the Journalists and Writers Foundation (JWF), Director of the Center for Global Affairs at Peace Islands Institute, and PHD candidate at Walden University;
  • Ozge Yazar, Third year student at Allard School of Law, B.A. from Bogazici University.





Updated Report: Incarceration of Turkish Lawyers | Unjust Arrests and Convictions (2016-2018)






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Vietnam: UPR of Vietnam: Advocacy Charter Lawyers for Lawyers and Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada

December 22, 2018

Stakeholders’ submission

(1) In the last years, the crackdown on freedom of expression has intensified. Reports indicate that in 2017, Viet Nam authorities have detained or exiled many peaceful activists and bloggers. Human rights lawyers who work on sensitive cases frequently face reprisals either in relation to their own human rights advocacy or their legal representation of people seen as critical of the Government. They are subjected to, amongst other things, threats, harassment and intimidation. Some lawyers have been the victim of physical attacks in connection to their legitimate advocacy. See Joint submission (JI) L4L & LRWC, par.10

A number of lawyers in Viet Nam have even been subjected to arrests and prosecution in connection to their professional activities or in relation to their human rights advocacy. See JI L4L & LRWC, par.11

(2) Governments must protect lawyers from unfair or arbitrary disciplinary proceedings. Disciplinary action against lawyers must be based solely on a code of professional conduct consistent with recognized ethical and professional standards including the Basic Principles and determined by an independent tribunal after a fair hearing conducted in accordance with international due process requirements. Before the UPR review of Viet Nam in 2014, several leading human rights lawyers had been disbarred, including lawyers Le Cong Dinh, Nguyen Van Dai, and Le Quoc Quan. More recently, other lawyers have been disbarred or are facing disbarment or other disciplinary actions on improper grounds. See JI L4L & LRWC, par.12










Turkey/Day of the Endangered Lawyer: Trial against lawyer Can Tombul

December 13, 2018

On 12 December, Lawyers for Lawyers, Fair Trial Watch, Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, the European Democratic Lawyers and the Human Rights Committee of the Norwegian Bar Association called on the authorities of Turkey to immediately release lawyer Can Tombul. 


Can Tombul works as a lawyer of the Law Bureau of the Oppressed (EHB). Together with his colleagues Mr. Tombul represents victims and family members of victims of the bombings / massacres in Ankara and Suruç in 2015. He has also been involved in documenting human rights violations in South-East Turkey.

Can Tombul was arrested on 31 July 2018 in Istanbul on charges of ‘membership of a terrorist organization’, and has been held in pre-trail detention ever since. The first hearing in his case was on 13 December 2018. We were informed that his case file contains information that directly relates to his work as a lawyer: regarding meetings with clients, telephone calls, twitter messages about cases and about human rights violations, demonstrations etc. Two funerals he attended in 2013 and 2015 are also cited as evidence of the charges against him.








https://www.advokatforeningen.no/aktuelt/Nyheter/2018/desember/menneskerettighetsutvalget-stotter-tyrkiske-advokater/ (NORWEGIAN)


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Büromuz avukatlarından Can Tombul’un tutuklu yargılandığı davanın ilk duruşması 13 Aralık Perşembe günü saat 10:30 da İstanbul(Çağlayan) 35. Ağır Ceza Mahkemesi’nde görülecek. Meslektaşlarımızı ve tüm dostlarımızı dayanışmaya çağırıyoruz.

(Ezilenlerin Hukuk Bürosu Facebook, 10/12/18)


Colombia: Joint Letter issued to the Colombian President concering threats made to the lawyer Daniel Prado

December 4, 2018

Daniel Prado: “Unfortunately in our country receiving threats goes hand in hand with a commitment to life and dignity”

The Law Society of England & Wales, Lawyers Rights Watch Canada, Lawyers for Lawyers, the Bar Council of England & Wales, and the Bar Human Rights Committee express their concern about serious threats made against the lawyer Daniel Prado in Colombia


Mr. Prado represents victims of atrocities committed by a paramilitary group. See on the right side of this page the letter in English and Spanish.