Tag Archives: OHCHR

The Philippines/USA: New York City Bar Association condemns attack on Cebu lawyer

24/09/22

The group urges the new government ‘to take all measures necessary to ensure that legal professionals are able to fulfill their professional obligations safely and without impediment’

The New York City Bar Association (NYCBA) has condemned the attempted assassination of Cebu Port Authority lawyer Karen Quiñanola-Gonzales.

“The New York City Bar Association joins the international community in condemning the attempted assassination of Karen Quiñanola-Gonzales and fears that it may be a harbinger of things to come,” the NYCBA said in a statement.

“As the CHR’s reference to ‘the continuing violence against legal professionals’ indicates, the recent attempt on the life of Quiñanola-Gonzales is by no means an isolated instance,” it added, noting the number of killings of members of the legal profession in the country during the administration of Rodrigo Duterte.

Gonzales and her son, Keith Gonzales, were driving near Hernan Cortes Street in Barangay Tipolo when they were ambushed by motorcycle-riding men.

Mandaue City police have identified the gunman behind the attack as 42-year-old swimming instructor Richard Basalo Delibo.

Lieutenant Colonel Franco Rudolf Oriol, deputy city director for operations of the Mandaue City Police Office, said they filed a complaint for two counts of frustrated murder against Delibo with the City Prosecutor’s Office on Friday, September 16.

[…]

https://www.nycbar.org/media-listing/media/detail/attempted-assassination-of-philippine-lawyer-karen-quinanola-gonzales

https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/topstories/nation/844042/ibp-calls-for-protection-of-lawyer-son-after-cebu-attack/story/

https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/09/03/22/nupl-urges-swift-probe-on-lawyers-ambush-in-cebu

https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/09/12/philippines-strong-un-rights-council-action-needed

https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2022/09/philippines-un-human-rights-report-looks-new-administration-progress

Afghanistan: Lawyers, specifically women lawyers, are in serious danger

06/09/22

The CCBE urges the de facto authorities to reinstate the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association and allow all lawyers to practise law freely and without fear of persecution.

Les avocats, et en particulier les avocates, sont en grand danger. Le CCBE exhorte les autorités à rétablir l’Association indépendante du barreau afghan et à permettre à tous les avocats d’exercer librement et sans crainte de persécution.

Click to access EN_HRL_20220906_Afghanistan_Situation-of-lawyers-in-Afghanistan.pdf

https://www.smh.com.au/national/if-you-give-someone-1000-he-can-kill-anybody-why-judge-nellab-fled-kabul-20220719-p5b2qe.html

https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2022/09/human-rights-council-discusses-situation-human-rights-afghanistan-focus

https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2022/09/human-rights-council-hold-fifty-first-regular-session-12-september-7-october

https://www.ohchr.org/en/hr-bodies/hrc/regular-sessions/session51/list-reports

https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20220912-we-are-erased-afghan-women-demand-action-at-un

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/sep/12/un-expert-describes-staggering-repression-of-women-and-girls-in-afghanistan

https://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/afghan-mp-taliban-gender-apartheid-regime-89779095

https://www.fidh.org/en/region/asia/afghanistan/oral-statement-for-the-interactive-dialogue-with-the-special

https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/09/12/international-criminal-court-should-reach-decision-afghanistan

https://www.afghanistan-analysts.org/en/reports/rights-freedom/un-human-rights-warns-of-afghanistans-descent-into-authoritarianism/

https://www.ibanet.org/IBAHRI-calls-for-creation-of-a-dedicated-accountability-mechanism-for-Afghanistan-in-joint-letter

https://www.dw.com/en/afghanistan-un-warns-taliban-against-harassing-its-female-employees/a-63098371

https://www.law360.com/articles/1523654

https://www.lemonde.fr/idees/article/2022/09/13/afghanistan-la-lutte-pour-le-respect-des-droits-fondamentaux-doit-continuer_6141329_3232.html (FRANCAIS)

European Court of Human Rights: President Warsaw Bar v. Poland

31/08/22

https://privacyinternational.org/legal-action/pietrzak-and-others-v-poland

https://en.panoptykon.org/

Afghanistan: One year after Taliban takeover, human rights defenders at greater risk than ever

12/08/22

One year since the Taliban captured power in Afghanistan, conditions for human rights defenders, especially women, have further deteriorated, the undersigned members of Protect Defenders.eu – said today. A year ago, when the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan, they promised to respect human rights – including the rights of women and girls and media freedom. However, over the past year, they have carried out serious human rights violations and abuses, and sought to suppress civil society, media freedom, and any form of dissent with complete impunity.

Since 15 August 2021, we have witnessed the steady erosion of human rights gains in Afghanistan and attacks, reprisals, and a failure of any effective protection for human rights defenders in the country. Women and girls, religious and ethnic minorities, those speaking out against violations and for the protection of the rights of the most vulnerable, have been deliberately targeted. This is a pattern of violence that has been met with insufficient action from the international community. Human rights defenders who continue to work for their communities have been effectively abandoned and left without adequate support, access to resources, protection, and pathways to safety.   

Human rights defenders have faced near-daily attacks and violent reprisals including arrest, torture, threats and killings since the Taliban takeover. Escalating violence in the provinces has forced a large number of defenders to leave their homes and relocate and/or resettle. Human rights defenders, in particular women human rights defenders have been facing multiple risks and threats by the Taliban, including: kidnapping; arbitrary arrest and imprisonment; torture; physical and psychological harm; house searches; death and physical threats; intimidation and harassment; and violence against their family members. Women human rights defenders have also faced systematic oppression and segregation from public life. They have been stripped of their rights to work, freedom of movement, access to education, and to participate in public affairs. For those seeking to leave Afghanistan due to severe risk, safe and dignified pathways out of the country remain extremely difficult and challenging.

There has also been serious curtailment of freedom of expression and assembly. These freedoms are no longer legally and institutionally protected, and any form of dissent is met with arbitrary arrests and detention and enforced disappearance. Enforced disappearances of women, and arbitrary arrest of journalists and civil society activists are tactics adopted by the Taliban to silence voices that speak out.

[…]

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/statement-report/joint-statement-afghanistan-one-year-after-taliban-takeover

https://www.fidh.org/en/region/asia/afghanistan/afghanistan-one-year-taliban-human-rights-defenders

https://edition.cnn.com/2022/08/14/world/afghanistan-women-judges-taliban-intl-cmd/index.html

https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/08/11/afghanistan-talibans-catastrophic-year-rule

https://civicus.org/index.php/media-resources/reports-publications/5957-afghanistan-the-taliban-s-assault-on-rights-a-year-on-from-its-takeover

https://www.ohchr.org/en/statements/2022/08/afghanistan-un-human-rights-experts-warn-bleak-future-without-massive-turnaround

https://www.eeas.europa.eu/eeas/eu-afghanistan-relations_en

https://thediplomat.com/2022/08/under-taliban-rule-afghanistan-will-never-have-an-inclusive-government/

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/aug/13/female-protesters-beaten-by-taliban-fighters-during-rare-kabul-rally-afghanistan

https://www.hrw.org/ps/news/2022/08/11/afghanistan-talibans-catastrophic-year-rule (PASHTO)

https://www.hrw.org/gbz/news/2022/08/11/afghanistan-talibans-catastrophic-year-rule (DARI)

https://www.lemondedudroit.fr/institutions/83102-observatoire-international-avocats-danger-oiad-lance-campagne-soutien-plaidoyer-barreau-independant-afghanistan.html (FRANCAIS)

https://www.hrw.org/es/news/2022/08/11/afghanistan-talibans-catastrophic-year-rule (ESPANOL)

Singapore: Halt executions and cease punitive cost orders against death-row lawyers

09/08/22

Singapore’s authorities must immediately halt any impending executions, and cease using punitive cost orders against lawyers representing death-row inmates, said the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) today.

On 5 August 2022, Singapore executed two persons, Abdul Rahim Shapiee and Ong Seow Ping, for “drug possession for the purpose of trafficking”. Their execution followed the Court of Appeal’s denial of Abdul Rahim Shapiee’s stay of execution request based on a lawsuit he and 23 other death-row inmates had filed alleging obstructions in their access to lawyers.

“The death penalty is wholly incompatible with human rights and the Rule of Law. The Singapore government has stepped up the number of executions this year with ten people executed so far,” said ICJ Commissioner Ambiga Sreenevasan. “Singapore and all other countries that continue to impose capital punishment must revisit their position.”

Executions constitute a violation of the right to life and are the ultimate cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment. While the ICJ opposes the death penalty under any circumstances, international law and standards on the use of the death penalty are clear that it may never be imposed upon a conviction for drug offences since such offences, in turn, do not involve “intentional killing”, the international law threshold for capital crimes.

The ICJ is also deeply concerned about reports of punitive cost orders against lawyers who have represented clients on death row. Singaporean courts have imposed such orders against lawyers of death-row inmates because they had filed late-stage applications to the courts on behalf of their clients, purportedly on the basis that these applications were “frivolous, vexatious or an abuse of process”.

For instance, on 23 June 2022, the High Court ordered two lawyers to pay the Attorney-General SG$20,000 (approx. US$14,500) in costs for a failed application on behalf of 17 death-row inmates who alleged that, as ethnic minorities, they were more likely to be investigated, prosecuted and sentenced to the death penalty for drug offences. The High Court held that the application lacked basis, and was an abuse of process, and that its lack of merit would have been apparent to “reasonable and competent counsel”.

The imposition of punitive cost orders has obstructed death-row inmates’ access to justice and effective remedies, their right to legal counsel — with several having had to represent themselves in court — and, in turn, their right to a fair trial and, ultimately, their right to life. Notably, the 24 death-row inmates who filed the lawsuit on 1 August 2022 were unable to secure legal representation despite approaching several lawyers, as the lawyers were allegedly afraid of adverse cost orders.

[…]

https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/courts-crime/apex-court-throws-out-civil-suit-by-24-death-row-inmates-alleging-right-to-counsel-violated

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/8/5/singapore-executions-under-scrutiny-as-more-hanged-for-drugs

https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/08/1123852

https://www.ohchr.org/en/statements/2022/08/comment-un-human-rights-office-spokesperson-liz-throssell-executions-singapore

https://www.malaysianow.com/news/2022/08/08/a-conversation-with-charles-yeo-singapores-latest-dissident-in-exile

https://www.wsj.com/articles/pace-of-executions-in-singapore-stirs-debate-over-death-penalty-for-drug-crimes-11659414366

https://www.singaporelawwatch.sg/Headlines/High-Court-upholds-dismissal-of-misconduct-charge-against-lawyer-M-Ravi

https://www.csmonitor.com/Daily/2022/20220808/Singapore-s-death-penalty-Is-there-room-for-compassion

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/7/22/singapore-carries-out-fifth-execution-since-march

https://www.malaysianow.com/news/2022/08/02/court-gives-same-day-deadline-to-lawyerless-inmates-after-invoking-familiar-abuse-of-process-on-suit

Sudan: Emergency Lawyer Saleh Bushra arrested and charged with murder of demonstrator

24/07/22

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2023126/middle-east

https://genevasolutions.news/peace-humanitarian/un-expert-on-sudan-calls-for-end-to-violent-crackdown-against-protesters

https://sudantribune.com/article259987/

https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/sudan-emergency-lawyers-more-than-90-people-continue-to-be-detained-despite-lifting-of-state-of-emergency

The Path to Tunisia’s 2022 Constitutional Referendum

19/07/22

Tunisia is preparing for a constitutional referendum set to take place on July 25, 2022, exactly one year after the country’s President Kais Saied set the country on an alarming trajectory. This explainer unpacks how Saied has spent the last year dismantling the independence of the judicial and legislative branches and expanding his executive authority, and details how he threatens to make permanent these steps in a new constitution.

One year of Saied’s ‘state of exception’

On July 25, 2021, Saied dismissed Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi, suspended the activities of the Assembly of the Representatives, and lifted parliamentary immunity; on July 29, he issued Presidential Decree No. 2021-80 to formalize these steps. Thereafter, he stated that he would head the executive branch alongside a new prime minister, who was eventually announced to be Najla Bouden

On September 22, 2021, Saied declared that he would rule by decree virtue of Presidential Decree No. 2021-117 which suspended major constitutional articles and reaffirmed the previously-announced measures subverting parliamentary privileges. This step gave the president the right to rule by decree over various areas including the judiciary, the military, civil society associations, and political parties while exempting him from judicial review. Since then, Saied’s legislative and executive powers have continued to grow exponentially in the face of undermined oversight mechanisms.

These developments occurred as Saied planted the seeds for a “new political roadmap” that was rooted in a national narrative of fighting corruption and conspiracy, and holding “traitors” to account. As he did so, he declared that the 2014 constitution would no longer be valid and that the new roadmap would be based on “legal solutions” grounded in “the will and sovereignty of the Tunisian people.”

One of the steps to translate Saied’s vision into reality became the National Consultation Process, which took place between January 1 and March 20, 2022 and served as a stepping stone for the political and electoral reforms that were to come. The consultation proposed a series of questions, with specific pre-drafted answers regarding electoral, political, economic, educational, and social issues for eligible Tunisians to select from. Despite the fact that the consultation engaged only 508,000 participants, Saied declared the process a success and proceeded with his plan to implement its alleged input into next steps. Observers and experts critiqued the consultation for its low participation and methodology which resulted in unequal representation, particularly with regards to gender and region. Head of the Tunisian General Labor Union (UGTT) Noureddine Taboubi condemned the failure to inclusively involve national actors from the beginning of the consultation. In its latest urgent opinion, the Venice Commission, an advisory body of the Council of Europe that is composed of constitutional law experts, found fault in the president’s roadmap more generally and cast doubt over the possibility of arriving at a “constitutional synthesis” with a consultation that “ did not give rise to widespread popular support, as participation remained very little.” 

In a step that further ate away at checks and balances more generally, on February 12, 2022, Saied dissolved the Higher Judicial Council (HJC) via Decree No. 2022-11. The HJC had been promulgated in the 2014 constitution and was the highest judicial oversight body in the state. Saied’s decree replaced the HJC with a Provisional High Judicial Council, retaining the same composition of the HJC, though altering the number of judges and the appointment process, and empowering the president to act as a disciplinary power and request removal of members. These changes tightened the executive branch’s control over the judiciary and expanded the president’s powers and influence. Months later, Saied would amend Decree No. 2022-11 with Decree No. 2022-35 on June 1, 2022, giving him the power to dismiss judges if they harmed the independence or the integrity of the judiciary; the amendments paved the way for the sacking of 57 judges, per Presidential Order No. 315-2022

[…]

Key takeaways from the constitution

Consistent with the unilateral approach that Saied has taken in setting forward the political roadmap and constitutional drafting process detailed above, the latest version of the draft constitution that Tunisians are set to vote on incorporates Saied’s narrative into the preamble. It claims that July 25, 2021 was a “correction of the Revolution’s path and that of history,” and that it will enable the country to move into a “new phase in history”—an expression Saied has used multiple times in his remarks and rhetoric. The preamble refers to the national consultation process and inflates its legitimacy, stating that “hundreds of thousands of citizens” participated.

Most significantly, Saied’s draft constitution seeks to create what has been described as a “hyper-presidentialist” system, where the president has extensive executive and legislative authorities, with little checks over them. The draft grants the president executive powers found in presidential systems, while also affording him legislative powers typically enjoyed by the head of government in parliamentary systems. While Tunisia’s 2014 constitution distributed these powers between the head of government and the president in a hybrid presidential-parliamentary system, Saied’s draft seeks to concentrate them, not only making the president the most consequential actor in policymaking, but also making him omnipotent, in a manner similar to the 1959 constitution.

Saied’s draft eliminates parliament’s ability to vote to impeach the president prior to adjudication by the Constitutional Court, as had been set forth by the 2014 constitution. Moreover, while the government had previously been accountable to parliament under the 2014 constitution, this draft makes the government accountable to the president, who will also enjoy the authority to appoint and dismiss the head of government and other government ministers. The new draft keeps the infamous Article 80 of the 2014 constitution—which Saied relied on to declare emergency measures under a state of exception. However, the provision is now found in the form of Article 96, which eliminates the temporal deadline to lift these emergency measures and the Constitutional Court’s ability to rule on the validity of said-measures. In eliminating these safeguards, Saied makes the provision identical to Article 46 of the 1959 constitution and further expands the president’s authorities

Also similar to the 1959 constitution, Article 116 of the new draft stipulates that in case of a second vote of no-confidence against the government, the president has the right to accept the government’s resignation or dissolve one or both chambers of parliament. Although parliament in theory can still pass a vote of no-confidence against the government—albeit with difficulty as it requires a two-third majority of both chambers—its oversight power has been further constrained alongside the president’s expanded authority. 

In the new draft constitution, the president enjoys expansive legislative powers at the expense of a severely-weakened parliament. He has the authority to suggest draft bills, as well as the authority to issue decrees that enjoy the force of law during parliamentary recess periods or when parliament is dissolved. The draft stipulates that the president can also call for legislative and constitutional referendums without prior parliamentary approval. On the flip side, while parliament does enjoy the authority to draw up bills that are supported by a minimum of 10 MPs, it cannot pass legislation that touches on the president’s administrative powers or on financial issues. Important to note that until a sitting parliament is elected, Saied will continue to enjoy the legislative power that he has been exercising vigorously. 

While the new constitution establishes the National Assembly for Regions and Districts as the second chamber of parliament, it does away with an entire chapter on decentralization, previously present in the 2014 constitution and heralded at the time as an important success. The draft instead stipulates that local governance will further be expanded on in the law, leaving the matter outside of the constitution and raising concerns that the president may further weaken local powers, including through future amendments to the Local Authorities Code and the Electoral Law. 

The draft constitution also curtails the powers of the judiciary. It eliminates the single Higher Judicial Council that was elected and tasked to manage all types of judicial jurisdictions, and replaces it instead with three higher councils that will oversee each type of jurisdiction individually—the details of which will be left to the law; it does not guarantee their independence. Leaving this to the law, rather than protecting judicial independence at the constitutional level, creates concern that the judiciary’s role will be even further weakened down the line and its independence, further compromised. The draft dedicates a chapter to the Constitutional Court, separating it from that of the remainder of the judiciary, and changes its composition. Unlike the 2014 constitution, under which the Constitutional Court was selected by the Higher Judicial Council, parliament, and the president and was composed of judges and professors from different fields, the draft creates a court composed only of appointed judges based on seniority.

The draft constitution does away with a number of independent entities created by the 2014 constitution to act as safeguards for rights and freedom by establishing additional oversight over state institutions. The draft keeps only the Independent High Authority for Elections, albeit without specifying whether its members will be elected by parliament as had previously been the case. Though the draft does recognize and protect individual rights and freedoms, an unusually-constructed Article 5 sets forth the state as the sole entity responsible “to work, in the context of a democratic system, to fulfill the “maqasid [purposes] of Islam,” raising concerns about the state’s role in interpreting religion and on how this will manifest in practice. Civil society organizations have also raised concerns about the draft’s failure to explicitly prohibit the military trial of civilians. 

Ultimately, Saied’s constitution threatens to enshrine a system of governance in which the president enjoys expansive and in many cases, unchecked authorities, while the legislature and judiciary become seriously constrained, functioning with limited, if any, independence and autonomy. The draft is a reflection of a process that has lacked transparency, inclusivity, and accountability since day one and that threatens to formalize the actions that were taken in an alleged “state of exception,” grounding Tunisia and the Tunisian people further in an alarming and undemocratic pathway.

https://www.dw.com/en/tunisia-votes-on-problematic-new-constitution/a-62556649

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/7/23/popular-march-against-tunisias-new-constitution

https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2022/07/tunisia-presidential-decrees-undermine-judicial-independence-and-access

(SIGN THE PETITION!)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/07/18/tunisia-president-kais-saied-one-man-rule/

https://pomed.org/snapshot-yea-or-stay-away-kais-saieds-autocratic-referendum/

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/7/22/opponents-of-tunisias-new-referendum-unable-to-unite-before-vote

https://www.economist.com/middle-east-and-africa/2022/07/21/tunisias-president-is-pushing-an-ominous-constitution

https://english.alaraby.co.uk/news/tunisia-unseco-envoy-sacked-over-opposing-judges-dismissal

https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO2207/S00128/tunisia-presidential-decrees-undermine-judicial-independence-and-access-to-justice-says-un-expert.htm

https://www.ohchr.org/fr/press-releases/2022/07/tunisia-presidential-decrees-undermine-judicial-independence-and-access (FRANCAIS)

https://www.lefigaro.fr/flash-actu/tunisie-des-arrestations-musclees-lors-d-une-manifestation-anti-saied-20220722

https://www.lepoint.fr/afrique/tunisie-le-pharaon-de-carthage-24-07-2022-2484212_3826.php

https://information.tv5monde.com/afrique/tunisie-un-apres-le-coup-de-force-du-25-juillet-kais-saied-perd-de-plus-en-plus-d-allies

(SIGNEZ LA PETITION!)

https://www.nouvelobs.com/monde/20220722.OBS61200/tunisie-kais-saied-ou-la-derive-autoritaire-d-un-president.html

https://www.tunisienumerique.com/limogeage-de-57-magistrats-anas-hmadi-appelle-kais-saied-a-revenir-sur-sa-decision-video/

https://information.tv5monde.com/afrique/referendum-en-tunisie-que-prevoit-le-projet-de-constitution-du-president-kais-saied-465381?amp

https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/230722/en-tunisie-le-referendum-sur-la-constitution-revele-la-fragilite-de-la-democratie

https://arabic.euronews.com/2022/06/10/tunisia-judges-threaten-extend-strike-second-week-dismissal (ARABIC)

Sri Lanka: Protesters Awaiting Swearing-In Of New Cabinet Removed Violently

22/07/22

Awaiting the swearing-in of the new Cabinet under newly elected President Ranil Wickremesinghe, Sri Lankan military with violent force chased away all the protesters occupying the entrance to the Presidential Secretariat and the main protest site Gotagogama early hours of Friday.

Military and riot police, who entered the protest site armed with clubs and wires, attacked the protesters taking control of the protest site while arresting at least eight, including protest leaders and a lawyer.

Journalists and lawyers were not allowed to enter the area and at least two journalists who were covering the clearing off were attacked by the military.

Strongly condemning the attack and forcible removal of the protesters, the US Ambassador in Colombo Julie Chung tweeted: “Deeply concerned about actions taken against protesters at Galle Face in the middle of the night. We urge restraint by authorities and immediate access to medical attention for those injured,” the US Ambassador tweeted.

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL), comprising all the lawyers and judges too condemned the government’s action to attack peaceful protesters who occupied the area for more than three months and demanded the exit of former government headed by Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Mahinda Rajapaksa and now the removal of Ranil Wickremesinghe.

“The BASL strongly and unreservedly condemns the use of force and violence last night by the authorities in attacking protesters at Galle Face in the vicinity of the Presidential Secretariat.

It is apparent that hundreds of military personnel and police had blocked the access roads to Galle Face and prevented the public from entering the area. Attorneys-at-Law who tried to enter the area have been prevented from doing so by forces personnel. The BASL has been informed that at least two Attorneys-at-Law who sought to intervene in their professional capacity had been assaulted by service personnel. Video footage also shows unarmed civilians being assaulted by the security forces,” BASL President Saliya Peiris stated.

The BASL demanded for an immediate halt to the unjustified and disproportionate actions of the Armed Forces targeting civilians and urged President Ranil Wickremesinghe to ensure that he and his government respect the Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights of the people.

[…]

Protesters Awaiting Swearing-In Of New Cabinet Removed Violently

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-62260678

https://www.ohchr.org/en/statements/2022/07/comment-un-human-rights-office-spokesperson-jeremy-laurence-raid-sri-lanka

https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/07/22/sri-lanka-security-forces-assault-peaceful-protesters

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

Burma: Myanmar Junta has Arrested Over 40 Lawyers Defending Political Detainees

11/07/22

Myanmar’s military regime has arrested at least 10 more lawyers in the last two weeks who are defending prominent National League for Democracy (NLD) figures and anti-regime protestors, bringing the total number of lawyers detained since last year’s coup to at least 42.

In the most recent case, lawyers Ko Soe Tun Tun Zaw and Ma Aye Mya Yupar from the Tun Law firm in Mandalay were arrested at their office on July 9.

“Their office is opposite Chanayethazan Township court. They were taken from there in private cars,” a fellow Mandalay advocate, who requested anonymity for security reasons, told The Irrawaddy.

He added that the whereabouts of the duo and reason for their arrest remain unknown.

Their detention came just a few days after two other lawyers from Mandalay, Aung Min Thu and Daw Than Than Lwin, were arrested at their homes on July 2.

“They [arrested lawyers] are representing political detainees. I don’t know exactly why they were arrested. Currently, they [regime forces] are targeting lawyers who represent political detainees”, said the Mandalay advocate.

“Lawyers are being arrested continuously, so I have to be very cautious for my own safety,” he added.

On June 29, lawyer Tin Win Aung, who is acting for ousted Mandalay Chief Minister and NLD vice chairman Dr. Zaw Myint Maung in his trial for alleged corruption, his wife and fellow lawyer Thae Su Naing and lawyer Thuta, who represent anti-regime protestors, were arrested leaving Mandalay’s Obo Prison. Their whereabouts remain unknown.

In April, lawyer Ywat Nu Aung, who also represented Dr. Zaw Myint Maung, was also arrested outside Obo Prison.

[…]

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/myanmar/three-lawyers-assisting-political-cases-arrested-in-mandalay-07012022055531.html

https://www.myanmar-now.org/en/news/junta-files-terrorism-charges-against-three-detained-journalists-lawyers

https://www.ohchr.org/en/statements/2022/06/50th-session-human-rights-council-oral-update-myanmar

Afghanistan: Taliban’s new bar exam procedures & notable absence of new women attorneys

01/07/22

Law students and lawyers in Afghanistan are filing reports with JURIST on the situation on the ground since the Taliban takeover. Here, a young lawyer in Kabul reports on the complications Taliban governance has wrought for young lawyers wishing to regain their rights to practice in the country. For privacy and security reasons, we are withholding our correspondent’s name. The text has only been lightly edited to respect the author’s voice.

The Afghanistan Independent Bar Association was merged with the Taliban’s Ministry of Justice right after they seized power in August last year. The Taliban merged the bar association into the Ministry of Justice’s organizational framework as a general directorate, despite efforts by several advocacy groups to protect the bar association’s independence.

The organization of the ministry has been expanded to include the bar directorate, and a procedure was later created to govern its daily operations. In accordance to this procedure, in order to practice law in Afghanistan, every licensed attorney is required to pass a new evaluation exam.

To assess the legal and Islamic knowledge of attorneys who are interested in taking the test and obtaining a new license, a new testing mechanism was established.

The exam was divided into two main components that tested applicants’ legal and Islamic knowledge, respectively. Although the major purpose of the exam was to assess applicants’ understanding of Islam, the testing committee also posed questions about business laws, the penal code, arbitration, inheritance law, and other topics.

In accordance with the new procedure, a committee comprising five members — mainly appointed on the basis of their knowledge of Islamic law — is appointed to evaluate an attorney who shows interest in obtaining a new license to practice law. The procedure does not limit gender diversity for obtaining a legal license but unfortunately, no female attorneys have yet been given a license. In addition, the Ministry of Justice has not made any apparent effort to inspire female lawyers to obtain new licenses.

The result of the second round of the evaluation test can be accessed here.

I have interviewed two attorneys who succeeded in the last two exams under the new Taliban protocol, and below are the details they provided regarding the new testing procedures:

[…]

Question: Why do you think no female lawyers were in attendance?

Answer: There are a number of significant reasons why female lawyers are unable to attend the test. In particular, most women fear participating and practicing within the Taliban’s judicial and prosecution agencies and many are discouraged from working as lawyers in the country. Generally speaking, the Taliban’s mentality toward gender roles in education and professional life has caused women not to attend the evaluation test.

Question: What sorts of religious questions you were asked?

Answer: The test was on basic Islamic issues such as specific procedures as related court hearings, and issues like praying five times a day. Those with the greatest awareness of Islamic rules and principles seemed to have better opportunities to obtain their new law licenses.

https://www.jurist.org/news/2022/07/afghanistan-dispatch-the-talibans-new-bar-exam-procedures-and-the-notable-absence-of-new-women-attorneys/

https://www.ohchr.org/en/speeches/2022/07/afghanistan-update-human-rights-council-urgent-debate

https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2022/07/human-rights-council-holds-urgent-debate-human-rights-women-and-girls

https://www.voanews.com/a/un-rights-council-taliban-seek-to-erase-women-girls-from-public-life-/6641743.html

https://www.nycbar.org/member-and-career-services/committees/reports-listing/reports/detail/grave-risks-for-jurists-particularly-women-and-threats-to-afghanistans-independent-legal-profession

https://www.un.org/press/en/2022/sc14946.doc.htm

https://www.raoulwallenbergcentre.org/en/news/2022-06-16

https://www.lbhf.gov.uk/articles/news/2022/06/our-help-afghanistan-s-top-female-judge-now-calls-hf-home

https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2022/06/26/lost-in-limbo-thousands-of-afghan-migrants-in-turkey-still-awaiting-help-from-the-west-including-canada-now-face-deportation.html

https://www.ibanet.org/Afghanistan-global-outcry-at-institutionalised-systemic-oppression-of-women

https://www.change.org/p/female-afghan-judges-are-at-extreme-risk-of-violence-and-need-emergency-visas-urgently (SIGN THE PETITION!)

(DARI)

https://news.un.org/fr/story/2022/07/1123012 (FRANCAIS)

https://www.lefigaro.fr/flash-actu/le-chef-supreme-des-talibans-dit-au-monde-de-cesser-de-se-meler-des-affaires-afghanes-20220701