Tag Archives: UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers

Sri Lanka: TGTE Launches Petition Calling for UN Response to Recent Attack on Tamil Lawyers in Sri Lanka

October 9, 2019

In light of the police-facilitated mob violence perpetrated with impunity against Tamil lawyers outside the Mullaitivu Magistrate court in North-East Sri Lanka on Monday, September 23, 2019, as well as the state-sanctioned and police-facilitated open public defiance of a court injunction that precipitated the assault, Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE)has launched a petition calling on the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Mr. Diego García-Sayán, to secure a country visit to Sri Lanka without delay in order to investigate, document and report on the historic and ongoing gross violations of the independence of Tamil judges and security of Tamil lawyers, in the island of Sri Lanka.

“The events of September 23rd were not an isolated incident but rather only the most recent episode in Sri Lanka’s long history of blatant disregard for the rule of law, the separation of powers, and human rights when it serves the Buddhist Sinhalese ethnocratic state agenda,” said TGTE Prime Minister Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran. “These events have provoked moral anger among lawyers and human rights activists worldwide.”

“We cannot let these actions go unanswered. An attack on an Eelam Tamil lawyer is a threat to all Eelam Tamil lawyers to perform their legal obligations. The international community, especially institutions that consider themselves human rights guardians, cannot afford to turn a blind eye in this matter. Silence in the wake of events like these is what allows impunity to reign.”, Mr. Rudrakumaran added.

The specific court injunction defied was one prohibiting the administration of Buddhist funeral rites on the grounds of a Hindu temple in Mullaitivu, part of the traditional Tamil Homeland. The Sri Lankan police sent to the area did not take any action to prevent the criminally-intended group of Buddhist adherents from successfully violating the injunction. Instead, Sri Lankan police escorted the group as it carried out the prohibited funeral rites and also barred Tamils from entering the area. Then, when members of the group harassed and physically attacked the Tamil lawyers present who had worked to secure the injunction and who attempted to question why the cremation was proceeding despite the legal order, the police merely watched. It is elucidating that, as reported in the Tamil Guardian, one monk “taunted the Tamil objectors by stating that Buddhist monks held supremacy in Sri Lanka.”

https://www.einnews.com/pr_news/498685739/tgte-launches-petition-calling-for-un-response-to-recent-attack-on-tamil-lawyers-in-sri-lanka

https://www.tamilguardian.com/content/lawyers-continue-strike-across-north-east-after-assaults-buddhist-monks

http://newsonair.nic.in/Main-News-Details.aspx?id=371997

Uzbekistan/UN: Uzbekistan faces crucial challenges

September 26, 2019

Uzbekistan faces crucial challenges for judicial independence, says UN human rights expert

Image result for Diego Garcia-Sayán

Important steps have been taken in Uzbekistan to dismantle an authoritarian and centralist structure that has previously severely undermined the independence of justice, the function of lawyers and the rule of law, says visiting UN rights expert Diego Garcia-Sayán.

“I emphasise that this process is ongoing and that further improvements must be made. I have also perceived an openness to criticism and I welcome this approach,” said García-Sayán, the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, presenting a preliminary statement at the end of his visit.

“Substantial threats against judicial independence and the rule of law remain,” he said, referring to the heavy and constant presence of the security services throughout society and Uzbekistan’s institutions. He was also concerned about broad powers that prosecutors retain in criminal proceedings, which limit the independence of judges to decide cases autonomously and in accordance with his or her conscience.

“The Government must now act urgently to sustain and complete the reform process and bring to an end those practices which currently affect access to justice and threaten efforts to achieve judicial independence.”

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1909/S00187/uzbekistan-faces-crucial-challenges.htm

https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=25043&LangID=E

https://mfa.uz/en/press/news/2019/09/21133/?print=Y

https://kun.uz/en/news/2019/09/25/shavkat-mirziyoyev-receives-un-special-rapporteur-diego-garca-sayn

https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Judiciary/Pages/DiegoGarciaSayan.aspx

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diego_Garc%C3%ADa_Say%C3%A1n

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diego_Garc%C3%ADa-Say%C3%A1n_Larrabure (FRANCAIS)

Uzbekistan: ICJ welcomes the first visit of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers to Uzbekistan

September 20, 2019

The ICJ welcomes this week’s visit to Uzbekistan of the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Diego García-Sayan, during which he will assess reforms of the judicial system, the independence of the judiciary and the independence and role of lawyers.

“The visit of the Special Rapporteur to Uzbekistan, at the invitation of the government, is an indication that the Uzbekistan authorities are serious about the ongoing reforms of the justice system. This visit is only a starting point for the deep reforms needed to establish an independent and fair justice system in Uzbekistan. Realising these reforms will require sustained commitment of all institutions of government, lawyers and civil society,” said Temur Shakirov, Senior Legal Adviser of the ICJ Europe and Central Asia Programme.

The ICJ, along with other NGOs and IGOs, met with the Special Rapporteur in Tashkent yesterday on the first day of his visit, and drew his attention to the independence of judges and lawyers in Uzbekistan.

“The visit will be followed by the report of the Special Rapporteur containing findings and recommendations. These recommendations should be effectively implemented and the ICJ is committed to provide expert and other support in the Uzbekistan’s effort to bring its justice system in line with the recommendations,” Shakirov added.

ICJ welcomes the first visit of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers to Uzbekistan

https://tashkenttimes.uz/national/4352-foreign-minister-hosts-the-un-special-rapporteur-on-the-independence-of-judges-and-lawyers

http://www.uzdaily.com/en/post/51921

https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Judiciary/Pages/IDPIndex.aspx

https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Judiciary/Pages/DiegoGarciaSayan.aspx

Iran/UN: UN Experts: Iran Must Protect Women’s Rights Advocates

November 29, 2018

Farhad Meysami (left), Nasrin Sotoudeh (middle) and Reza Khandan were all arrested in 2018 for peacefully advocating for human rights, including the right of women to choose whether to wear a hijab.

UN human rights experts* have called on Iran to guarantee the rights of human rights defenders and lawyers who have been jailed for publicly supporting protests against the mandatory wearing of the hijab in Iran.

“We urge the Government to immediately release all those who have been imprisoned for promoting and protecting the rights of women,” the experts said.

In particular, the experts expressed alarm at the critical health of Farhad Meysami, a medical doctor, who was arrested in July after his advocacy in support of women protesting against the hijab law. Mr. Meysami began a hunger strike in August in protest at the charges and the lack of access to a lawyer of his choosing. Reports indicate that he has been moved to the medical centre in the prison, where he has been restrained in a bed and given intravenous injections. He is being held in isolation.

The experts said they were deeply disturbed by the reported lack of due process guarantees and said authorities had an obligation to respect the wishes of those who use hunger strikes as a form of protest.

The experts also reiterated their concern at the in-absentia conviction and subsequent imprisonment of Nasrin Sotoudeh, legal counsel for a number of the women protesters. She was convicted on security-related charges which appear to stem from her work representing the protesters. In September, her husband, Reza Khandan was arrested for “spreading propaganda against the system”, amongst other charges, and was accused of “promoting the practice of appearing in public without a veil”.

The experts called on Iran to urgently address Mr. Meysami’s grievances, and to guarantee the rights of Mr. Meysami, Ms. Sotoudeh, and of Mr. Khandan to not be deprived arbitrarily of their liberty. They also urged authorities to guarantee their right to fair proceedings before an independent and impartial tribunal.

The UN experts have notified the Government of Iran about their concerns.

https://www.iranhumanrights.org/2018/11/un-experts-iran-must-protect-womens-rights-advocates/

https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=23947&LangID=E

http://radioallen.cl/2018/iran-27/

https://www.rferl.org/a/un-rights-experts-call-on-iran-to-protect-women-s-rights-advocates/29630800.html

https://women.ncr-iran.org/iran-women-news/5604-nasrin-sotoudeh-begins-hunger-strike-in-evin-prison

https://www.queensjournal.ca/story/2018-11-29/news/iranian-political-prisoner-suggested-for-honorary-degree/

https://www.iranhumanrights.org/2018/11/prominent-imprisoned-lawyer-nasrin-sotoudeh-hunger-strikes-for-fellow-prisoner-farhad-meysami/

https://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/2004

https://sensday.wordpress.com/2018/11/30/amir-saalaar-daavudi-human-rights-lawyer-arrested/

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

http://www.ludovictrarieux.org/uk-index.htm

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

https://persian.iranhumanrights.org/1397/09/new-charge-for-receiving-sakharov-prize-for-nasrin-sotoudeh/?fbclid=IwAR1JZjJlTs-ehPpXxuJJIQ7jEL-rWD4m1u1EUA85mw6pvuZNiRkmCQKyhkA (FARSI)

https://www.courrierinternational.com/article/en-iran-les-combats-de-lavocate-nasrin-sotoudeh (FRANCAIS)

 

https://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/2005 (ARABIC)

#FreeNasrin

Image may contain: Reza Khandan, textImage may contain: Reza Khandan, textImage may contain: Reza Khandan, text

Turkey/China/Germany etc: On the Independence of Lawyers, Judges, and Bar Associations – by Roger Juan Maldonado

November 26, 2018

Roger Juan Maldonado

President’s Column, November 2018

Imagine we woke up one day to find that our esteemed bar association, founded in 1870, had suddenly been terminated by decree. All the assets of our association, including operating accounts, long-term capital investments, and real estate, had been confiscated. The members of our Executive Committee, the chairs of our various committees, and our leadership staff had been arrested and were facing severe criminal prosecution.

The recent report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers reveals that the above scenario is happening around the world.

In Turkey, 34 lawyers’ associations, in fact, were shut down by decree and had their assets confiscated without compensation following Turkey’s declaration of a state of emergency in June 2016. The chairs, board members, and many regular members of those associations were prosecuted and imprisoned. In China, more than 300 detentions, summonses, travel bans, and other restrictions have been imposed on lawyers and law firm staff since July 2015.

It’s not a new phenomenon. Where liberal democracy is on the retreat, lawyers are often among the first casualties, and history is replete with examples. In Cambodia in the 1970s, the Khmer Rouge systematically murdered anyone who wore glasses, believing this an effective method for targeting members of the educated elite, including attorneys. In 2014, the City Bar hosted an exhibit co-sponsored by the German Federal Bar and the ABA called “Lawyers Without Rights: Jewish Lawyers in Germany Under the Third Reich.” The project that inspired the exhibit uncovered the fates behind a list of lawyers whose licenses had been revoked by the Nazi regime. “Some were able to leave the country after the Nazis came into power, but very many of them were incarcerated or murdered,” said Axel Filges, president of the German Federal Bar. “The non-Jewish German lawyers of those days remained silent. They failed miserably, and so did the lawyers’ organizations. We do not know why.”

Obviously these are history’s extreme cases, but the City Bar is determined to learn from and not to repeat the failures of the past. We, therefore, must stand up for the rule of law wherever it is threatened.  It’s why several of our committees – including those on International Human Rights, Asian Affairs, and African Affairs, and our Council on International Affairs – have consistently spoken out on behalf of lawyers and judges around the world. Further, it’s why the City Bar recently established a standing Task Force for the Independence of Lawyers and Judges.

Since its creation, the Task Force has put on panels and Great Hall events highlighting crackdowns on lawyers, judges, and bar associations around the world, advocated on their behalf, and taken part in the global “Day of the Endangered Lawyer,” on January 24.

https://www.nycbar.org/media-listing/media/detail/on-the-independence-of-lawyers-judges-and-bar-associations-by-roger-juan-maldonado

https://www.nycbar.org/

https://www.ohchr.org/en/issues/judiciary/pages/idpindex.aspx

#DayoftheEndangeredLawyer

https://www.ohchr.org/FR/Issues/Judiciary/Pages/IDPIndex.aspx (FRANCAIS)

https://arrestedlawyers.org/

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India: Bhima Koregaon case: Do not criminalise human rights defenders, UN experts urge India

October 5, 2018

They said they were concerned the terrorism charges were being used to silence people who work to protect the rights of Dalit, tribal and indigenous groups.

Bhima Koregaon case: Do not criminalise human rights defenders, UN experts urge India

Human rights experts from the United Nations on Friday expressed concern about the arrests of activists in the Bhima Koregaon case, and urged India to ensure that their cases are “promptly heard in line with international law”.

Ten activists have been arrested since June under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. Five of them are in prison, four under house arrest, and one has been released since.

The human rights experts said the vague definition of “unlawful activities” and “membership of terrorist organisations” in the law “confers discretionary powers upon state agencies, which weakens judicial oversight and diminishes civil liberties in the process”.

The Pune Police had arrested activists Shoma Sen, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Rona Wilson and Sudhir Dhawale on June 6 as part of their investigation into violence during an event in Bhima Koregaon near Pune on January 1. On August 28, they arrested Sudha Bharadwaj, Gautam Navlakha, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira and Varavara Rao.

On October 1, the Delhi High Court said Navlakha’s detention was untenable by law and ended his house arrest, but the Maharashtra government has now challenged it in the Supreme Court.

“We are concerned that terrorism charges brought in connection with the commemoration of Bhima-Koregaon are being used to silence human rights defenders who promote and protect the rights of India’s Dalit, indigenous, and tribal communities,” a statement by the UN experts said.

https://scroll.in/latest/897152/bhima-koregaon-case-do-not-criminalise-human-rights-defenders-un-experts-urge-india

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1810/S00037/india-terrorism-charges-are-pretext-to-silence-human-rights.htm

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/arun-ferreira-vernon-gonsalves-file-bail-pleas-in-pune-court/articleshow/66093187.cms

https://www.oneindia.com/india/bhima-koregaon-case-bail-application-filed-activist-arun-ferreira-in-pune-2788522.html

http://zeenews.india.com/india/bhima-koregaon-case-bail-application-filed-for-activist-arun-ferreira-in-pune-sessions-court-2146151.html

https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/activists-welcome-sc-verdict-say-arrests-diversionary-tactic/article25100171.ece

https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/bhima-koregaon-case-sc-not-interfere-arrest-5-activists-declines-sit-probe-89139

http://zeenews.india.com/india/bhima-koregaon-case-bail-applications-for-surendra-gadling-shoma-sen-to-be-heard-on-oct-10-2146366.html

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

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Chief_Minister_Release_activists_arrested_in_connection_with_Elgaar_Parishad_NOW/edit (SIGN THE PETITION!)

https://www.newsstate.com/india-news/bhima-koregaon-case-surendra-gadling-and-shoma-sen-bail-applications-adjourned-by-pune-court-article-64655.html (HINDI)

https://teles-relay.com/inde-le-gouvernement-du-maharashtra-engage-le-sc-contre-lordonnance-du-hc-mettant-fin-a-la-detention-a-domicile-du-militant-navlakha-inde-nouvelles/ (FRANCAIS)

https://www.lahaine.org/mm_ss_mundo.php/y-idonde-esta-la-izquierda (ESPANOL)

https://www.agenzianova.com/a/0/2111584/2018-10-03/india-operazione-anti-naxaliti-liberato-uno-dei-cinque-attivisti-arrestati-2 (ITALIANO)

Turkey: Int’l law associations urge UN to pressure on Turkish gov’t over persecution of legal professionals

September 18, 2018

Three international law associations have urged United Nations (UN), enter into urgent dialogue with the Turkish government with a view to ending the persecution and prosecution of legal professionals in the country.

The Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC), the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) and the Law Society of England and Wales have written a 34-page report in relation to breaches of the rights and protections of the legal profession in Turkey and submitted Diego García-Sayán, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers on Tuesday in Geneva.

The report entitled “International Law Breaches Concerning the Independence of Legal Profession in Turkey” which was submitted to the UN related to human rights violations which have occurred and are occurring since the controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, and examines the position post the ending of the State of Emergency in Turkey.

“Primarily, new laws place in a statutory framework the pre-existing threats to the independence of the legal profession, including arbitrary arrest and detention, dismissals, and breaches of the right to a fair trial and due process,” said the international law associations in their joint letter in which they presented the report to UN’s García-Sayán.

https://stockholmcf.org/intl-law-associations-urge-un-to-pressure-on-turkish-govt-over-persecution-of-legal-professionals/

International Law Breaches Concerning the Independence of Legal Profession in Turkey

https://arrestedlawyers.org/

#DayoftheEndangeredLawyer