Tag Archives: Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada

South Sudan: Arbitrary Detention, Repression, and Persecution of Lawyers | Oral Statement to the 42nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council

September 17, 2019

Mr. President,

Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada thanks the Commission for its oral report. We share the Commission’s concern about the securitization of the state and the absence of accountability mechanisms in South Sudan.[1]

LRWC deplores the enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings of lawyer and human rights activist Dong Samuel Luak and political opposition member Aggrey Idri, who were abducted from the streets of Nairobi in January 2017.[2] Both men were vocal critics of the South Sudanese government. In April 2019, the UN Panel of Experts on South Sudan reported that it has corroborated evidence strongly suggesting that these men were kidnapped by the National Security Service (NSS), transported from Kenya to Juba, and executed at an NSS detention facility in Luri on January 30, 2017.[3]

We are alarmed by the apparent cooperation of Kenya in the enforced disappearances of Mr. Dong and Mr. Aggrey, and by the failure of Kenya and South Sudan to impartially and thoroughly investigate these cases. Those responsible have not been held accountable and the families of the victims continue to be denied access to adequate remedies for the losses they suffered.

We call upon the Council to urge the Governments of Kenya and South Sudan to:

South Sudan: Arbitrary Detention, Repression, and Persecution of Lawyers | Oral Statement to the 42nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council

https://www.miragenews.com/human-rights-council-42-interactive-dialogue-on-south-sudan/

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/04/south-sudan-investigate-apparent-2017-killing-of-activists/

https://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/news/ea/South-Sudan-denies-execution-of-prominent-activists/4552908-5097446-uoxweo/index.html

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1556906/world

The Philippines: Extrajudicial killing of jurists as part of a pattern of widespread and systematic violations of human rights | Joint Written Statement to the 42nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council

September 9, 2019

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Joint written statement* submitted by Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, Lawyers for Lawyers, and International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL),non-governmental organizations in special consultative status, and Asian Legal Resource Centre,  non-governmental organization in general consultative status.

The Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales, the International Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL), and the Philippines National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), NGO(s) without consultative status, also share the views expressed in this statement.

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

1.     Introduction

Since 30 June 2016, the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (the Philippines) has engaged in a campaign of extrajudicial killing in violation of the Philippines’ international law obligations. Since President Rodrigo Duterte (President Duterte) took office on 30 June 2016, up to 27,000[1] persons have been extrajudicially killed with impunity, as part of a “war on drugs.” The Philippines’ official number is 5,526.[2] The victims include 45 lawyers, prosecutors and judges (jurists) assassinated between August 2016 and July 2019, and 134 human rights defenders (defenders).[3] 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 cause violations of the rights to legal representation and fair trials.

In few cases are suspects in custody or charges pending against suspects. In the majority of cases there has been no effective investigation or minimal progress on investigations. In addition to 45 jurists murdered, eight lawyers have survived murderous attacks, and one has been abducted and disappeared. A court worker and two paralegals are also among the additional victims. The online Appendix to this report lists the jurists with dates of death and status of investigations.[4]

Philippines: Extrajudicial killing of jurists as part of a pattern of widespread and systematic violations of human rights  | Joint Written Statement to the 42nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council

https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G19/248/09/PDF/G1924809.pdf?OpenElement

Thousands of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines: “A pattern of gross and systematic violations of human rights,” say seven legal organisations to the UN | Press release

Colmenares: There’s proof that EJKs are state-sponsored

https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2019/09/09/1950349/trillanes-denies-lawyer-jude-sabios-allegations-his-ties-bikoy

Prosecutor in bulletproof vehicle shakes off gunmen

DOJ rejects 3 OSG witnesses in sedition raps vs Robredo, 32 others

Ex-Daraga mayor tagged in Batocabe slay freed after posting bail

https://www.philstar.com/nation/2019/09/10/1950467/ex-daraga-mayor-batocabe-murder-released-jail

Oro church leaders, journos, lawyers ready for march vs red-tagging

Filipino lawyers attacksed Sept 2019 (IAPL MONITORING COMMITTEE REPORT)

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PHILIPPINES – 6 septembre 2019
Dix avocats abattus depuis le 1er janvier 2019 – 1 survivant

Le 6 septembre 2019, Datu Khadaffy Dilangalen Blao, 30 ans, a été tué par balles dans une mosquée de Barangay Olandang.

Le 5 septembre 2019, Irineo Cabugoy, 73 ans, a été abattu alors qu’il déjeunait avec sa famille dans un McDonald’s à Antipolo, dans l’État de Rizal.
Le 2 septembre 2019 : Inocencio dela Cerna a été touché par des tirs de deux hommes armés en tandem devant l’immeuble Quimonda, à Cebu.
Il a survécu parce qu’il a pu conduire son véhicule jusqu’à un poste de police situé à proximité. Il avait récemment défendu Niño Rey Boniel, membre du conseil d’administration de la province de Bohol, dans l’affaire d’enlèvement et de détention illégale de sa femme, ancien maire de la ville de Bien Unido.
Auparavant, 7 avocats avaient été assassinés aux Philippines au cours de l’année :
En 2018, 16 avocats ont été victimes d’attaques de tueurs à gages, aux Philippines. 4 ont miraculeusement survécu aux balles, 12 sont morts. Voir : Ces avocats en danger dans le monde, Edition 2019, pp. 52 à 57).
( Photos : Anthony Trinidad et Inocencio dela Cerna).

(L’Observatoire des Avocats 08/09/19)

Indonesia/Australia: Indonesia: Support Letter Ms. Veronica Koman | Joint Letter

September 13, 2019

LRWC and L4L sent a joint letter calling on Indonesian authorities to withdraw criminal charges against human rights lawyer Veronica Koman, charged for disseminating information about police violence against Papuan students peacefully protesting for Papuan self-determination. The letter was sent to the Ministers of Political, Legal and Security Affairs, of Law and Human Rights and of Immigration along with the President and the Police Chief for the East Java region.


The President of the Republic of Indonesia
His Excellency Mr. Ir. Joko Widodo
Jl. Veteran No. 16
Jakarta Pusat
INDONESIA

Amsterdam, 12 September 2019

Subject: Support Letter Ms. Veronica Koman

Your Excellency,

Lawyers for Lawyers (“L4L”) is an independent and non-political Dutch foundation that seeks to promote the proper functioning of the rule of law by pursuing freedom and independence of the legal profession. Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (“LRWC”) is a committee of lawyers and others who promote international human rights through advocacy, legal research and education.

L4L and LRWC write to express their concern about the police charges against Ms. Veronica Koman.

Veronica Koman is a prominent, independent human rights lawyer who previously worked as a public interest lawyer at the Legal Aid Institute (LBH) in Jakarta. LBH provides legal aid to the poor and marginalized people in Indonesia. Specifically, Veronica Koman has specialized in defending the rights of international refugees, women & LGBTIQs and West Papuans.

In previous years, Veronica Koman received multiple (death and rape) threats for defending the rights of accused persons in high-profile political cases, among which three legal cases involving Papuan indigenous people who were accused of separatism.

Indonesia: Support Letter Ms. Veronica Koman | Joint Letter

Letter on behalf of Veronica Koman

https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=24990&LangID=E

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/09/urges-indonesia-protect-rights-west-papua-activists-190916081502990.html

https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/492129

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/threats-against-and-judicial-harassment-human-rights-lawyer-veronica-koman

https://en.tempo.co/read/1246104/police-issue-second-summons-letter-for-veronica-koman

https://en.tempo.co/read/1247511/police-trace-suspicious-transactions-in-veronica-komans-accounts

https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/398897/increase-noted-in-intimidation-of-legal-advocates-for-papuans

https://regional.kompas.com/read/2019/09/15/13392941/fakta-baru-kasus-veronica-koman-polisi-temukan-6-rekening-hingga-bantah?page=all (INDONESIAN)

https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20190914105624-20-430447/lsm-asing-surati-jokowi-setop-kasus-veronica-koman (INDONESIAN)

Thailand: Ensure truth, justice, and reparations for victims of enforced disappearance | Written Statement to the UN Human Rights Council

August 29, 2019

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Joint written statement* submitted by Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, non-governmental organization in special consultative status, and Asian Legal Resource Centre, non-government organization in general consultative status

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), NGO without consultative status, also shares the views expressed in this statement.

Unforgotten in Thailand: Ensure truth, justice, and reparations for victims of enforced disappearance

  1. Introduction: Persistent impunity for enforced disappearances

 A pattern of impunity for enforced disappearances[1] persists in Thailand despite years of promises to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (UNCED)[2] and to pass legislation making enforced disappearance a crime.[3] The United Nations (UN) Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) reports 82 unresolved cases of enforced disappearances since 1980.[4] This number represents a fraction of Thailand’s enforced disappearances since the 1950s,[5] as families and witnesses remain silent for fear of reprisals.[6] Those most vulnerable to enforced disappearances belong to minorities or indigenous peoples. Also at risk are human rights defenders (defenders) or peaceful government critics.[7]Thailand’s current laws foster impunity for enforced disappearance; when a body is not found, murder charges are not laid.[8] No public officials have ever been held accountable for suspected involvement in enforced disappearances. The persistent pattern of impunity for enforced disappearances constitutes a grave violation of Thailand’s obligations under customary international law and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Thailand acceded in 1996.[9]

The risk of enforced disappearances is heightened by the practice of incommunicado detention of political opponents, suspects in national security cases, and suspected insurgents in southern provinces.[10]

Thailand: Ensure truth, justice, and reparations for victims of enforced disappearance | Written Statement to the UN Human Rights Council

https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/03/11/thai-lawyers-disappearance-unsolved-15-years

15 years since disappearance Somchai Neelapaijit

Thailand: at event marking 15th anniversary of the enforced disappearance of Somchai Neelapaijit, ICJ calls for effective measures to tackle the crime

https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/03/11/14-years-disappearance-thai-rights-lawyer

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

https://www.un.org/press/en/2019/sgsm19716.doc.htm

https://www.un.org/en/events/disappearancesday/

https://international.thenewslens.com/article/124112

https://www.thedailystar.net/frontpage/enforced-disappearance-in-bangladesh-thousand-days-wait-1792822

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/syria-new-testimonies-families-disappeared-mark-day-disappeared

https://iran-hrm.com/index.php/2019/08/29/enforced-disappearances-in-iran-and-the-1988-massacre/

https://www.un.org/fr/events/disappearancesday/ (FRANCAIS)

enforced disappearances

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Cameroon: Rights groups seek UN intervention to end Cameroon atrocities | Press release

August 26, 2019

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Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), supported by the Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa (CHRDA) and the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights (RWCHR), has submitted a statement to the 42nd Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council seeking an end to catastrophic atrocities taking place in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon.

Since October 2016, Anglophones in Cameroon have been the target of extreme violence and persecution by the Cameroon government. There is evidence of human rights violations that amount to crimes against humanity. A separatist movement has responded with violent acts against the State’s defence forces. Government officials and armed insurgency groups have reportedly perpetrated sexual assault, torture, and public humiliation of women and girls throughout Anglophone regions.

Other reported crimes against humanity in the Anglophone regions include murder and lethal force against civilian populations, mass arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture of persons in State custody, and deportation and forcible transfer of Anglophone populations.

To date, approximately 500,000 civilians have been forcibly displaced. Many internally displaced persons have relocated to remote bush areas with inadequate access to food, potable water, clothing, basic hygiene, or medical assistance for resulting diseases, including dysentery and malaria.

“Cameroon is now one of the largest sources of displaced persons in the world,” explained Pearl Eliadis, Senior Fellow at the RWCHR and co-author of the report ‘Cameroon’s Unfolding Catastrophe: Evidence of Human Rights Violations and Crimes Against Humanity.’ “The international community needs to work in solidarity to resolve this human rights crisis.”

“The gross human rights violations against unarmed civilians in the Anglophone Regions are horrendous,” added Felix Agbor Nkongho, Chair of the CHRDA and co-author of Cameroon’s Unfolding Catastrophe. “There must be accountability for these egregious crimes,” urged Nkongho, a lawyer who was himself arbitrarily detained by Cameroon authorities from January to August 2017.

Cameroon: Rights groups seek UN intervention to end Cameroon atrocities | Press release

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/20/cameroon-anglophone-separatist-leader-ayuk-tabe-handed-life-sentence

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/08/cameroon-trial-of-soldiers-for-killing-women-and-children/

https://theconversation.com/what-it-would-take-to-break-the-impasse-in-cameroons-deadly-crisis-122134

https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/08/20/cameroon-detainees-tortured

https://www.dw.com/en/a-new-surge-of-people-fleeing-cameroons-anglophone-regions/a-50186298

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

Main Home

https://www.hrw.org/fr/news/2019/08/20/cameroun-des-detenus-tortures (FRANCAIS)

https://www.voaafrique.com/a/human-rights-watch-d%C3%A9nonce-la-torture-de-d%C3%A9tenus-au-cameroun-/5049668.html (FRANCAIS)

https://lanouvelletribune.info/2019/08/cameroun-maurice-kamto-bientot-devant-un-tribunal-militaire/ (FRANCAIS)

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

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

https://www.raoulwallenbergcentre.org/irwin-cotler-fr (FRANCAIS)

Pakistan/Day of the Endangered Lawyer: DAY OF THE ENDANGERED LAWYER – 24 January 2020 – PAKISTAN

Preparations are now well underway for the Day of the Endangered Lawyer (DOTEL) on Pakistan for January 24, 2020. At a preparatory meeting about 16 to 20 participants representing the Foundation of the Endangered Lawyers Day, AED, International Association of Peoples Lawyers, ELDH, CCBE, CBE, Institut des Droit de l’Homme, several Bar Associations, Avocats sans frontiers, Law Society, CNB have decided to dedicate the Day of the Endangered Lawyer to the solidarity with endangered lawyers in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, since our Brussels meeting our Pakistani colleagues continue to face chronic danger and a risk of serious harm.  They continue to be subjected to acts of violence, and very recently a lawyer was seriously assaulted by a judge during a trial, which led to a local strike („Black Day“) of lawyers lasting at least a week: https://defendlawyers.wordpress.com/2019/07/10/pakistan-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-lawyers-strike-continues-for-sixth-consecutive-day/   At the national level there have been a number of strikes by lawyers, especially in solidarity with two judges who have been under attack by Pakistan President Arif Alvi.  The latest national strike organized by the Pakistan Bar Council was held on July 13th:   https://defendlawyers.wordpress.com/2019/07/10/pakistan-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-pbc-gives-call-for-countrywide-strike-on-july-13/  Invidual lawyers, like high-profile lawyer Saif-ul-Malook who represented Asia Bibi (the famous woman who was on death row for blasphemy), continue to face a high risk of death or physical harm: https://defendlawyers.wordpress.com/2019/06/23/pakistan-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-the-pakistani-lawyer-putting-his-life-on-the-line/.

Lawyers‘ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC) reports that they will  invite the Canadian Human Rights Museum in Winnipeg to host and finance an event on January 24th and to bring one or two lawyers from Pakistan. LRWC has started a paper on Pakistan focused on two needs: to effectively prevent and punish the murder of lawyers through protective measure and proper investigations, prosecutions and trials and second to develop pan Pakistan education to promote religious diversity and tolerance. They will also invite the Law Society of Ontario to hold an event.  As well, at the beginning of July the G7 Bars Meeting was held in France, with representatives of the Bars of France, Canada, Germany, USA, Japan, England & Wales and Italy, representing 1.8 million lawyers.  They adopted 20 proposals to G7 governments, including one: „Commit to support actions marking the Day of the Endangered Lawyer and to encourage other countries to do likewise.“  The New Zealand Law Society has the honour of publishing the first article about DOTEL 2020, which they did in mid-July: https://defendlawyers.wordpress.com/2019/07/18/pakistan-new-zealand-pakistan-the-focus-of-2020-day-of-endangered-lawyer/

DAY OF THE ENDANGERED LAWYER – 24 January 2020 – PAKISTAN

https://defendlawyers.wordpress.com/2019/06/22/pakistan-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-january-24-2020-pakistan/

Homepage

Groups Urge Human Rights Focus During Pakistan PM Visit

https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/photography/pakistan-hazara-ethnic-minority-community-quetta-a8995466.html

#DayoftheEndangeredLawyer

Day of the Endangered Lawyer

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://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/07/gezi-protest-detainee-released.html

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/18/un-urged-to-act-over-purge-of-turkeys-lawyers-by-erdogan

https://ahvalnews.com/torture/lawyers-says-torture-rise-turkey-2016-coup-plot

Factsheet: Turkish Constitutional Court

Factsheet | Turkey’s Criminal Peace Judgeships

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)