June 16, 2017
Oral Statement to the 35th Session of the UN Human Rights Council from Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), NGO in special consultative status
Pakistan and Cameroon: Systematic failure to ensure protection of lawyers and defenders
Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada is gravely concerned about situations in Pakistan and Cameroon requiring the Council’s attention due to systematic failure to ensure protection of lawyers and human rights defenders.
In Pakistan, hundreds of jurists, court officials and defenders have been attacked and summarily executed by armed non-state individuals or mobs over the past decade including dozens killed in the past year alone. Pakistan has failed to exercise its duty to investigate and remedy these attacks and has failed to provide effective protective measures.
In Cameroon, dozens of civilians, including jurists, academics, journalists and other defenders are being taken before a military tribunal in violation of international human rights law. Denied fair trial rights, they face capital charges for exercising rights to freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly and political participation.
For defenders in both Pakistan and Cameroon, there has been no access to effective remedies for these violations. Also, within existing mechanisms of the UN human rights system there appears to be no means by which victims or their advocates can obtain recommendations for protective or remedial measures on an urgent basis.