Tag Archives: United Nations

UN Working Group Concludes Turkmenistan Violated Human Rights Laws In Arresting Lawyer


A UN working group has concluded that Turkmenistan violated international human rights laws when it detained a lawyer who was organizing a pro-democracy rally.

Police in the tightly controlled Central Asian nation arrested Pygamberdy Allaberdyev, a lawyer at a state oil company, in September 2020 for “hooliganism” after a man attacked him near a grocery store in the western city of Balkanabat.

Officers for Turkmenistan’s National Security Ministry immediately took over the case and charged Allaberdyev with having ties with the activists abroad.

He was sentenced later that month to six years in prison after a closed-door, two-hour trial during which he had no legal representation.

The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention last week determined that Allaberdyev was arrested for exercising his freedom of expression and association, according to the human rights group Freedom Now, which is helping Allaberdyev.

“We welcome the Working Group’s recognition that Pygamberdy Allaberdyev is wrongfully detained,” Freedom Now Legal Officer Adam Lhedmat said in a May 13 statemnt.

“Allaberdyev’s imprisonment is indicative of Turkmenistan’s intolerance of dissent and its strategy of using fabricated charges to silence its citizens. We call on the Turkmen government to comply with the United Nations’ decision and immediately and unconditionally release Allaberdyev.”





Canada to resettle female Afghan judges, families living in limbo


Canada will take in female Afghan judges and their families who have been living in limbo, primarily in Greece, since their evacuation from Afghanistan in the fall, a spokesperson for the immigration minister said Friday.

In addition to the judges and their families, a group totalling about 230 people, Canada will also resettle an unspecified number of Afghans from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities who had been referred by a third-party aid organization, the spokesperson said.

They are expected to come to Canada next year but there is no firm date.

Canada has promised to resettle 40,000 Afghan refugees but has no timeline for doing so. Since the Taliban took control of the country after the U.S. troop withdrawal in August, Canada has resettled 3,915 Afghans with connections to the Canadian government and another 2,535 on humanitarian grounds, according to government figures.

Afghan women made great strides in the two decades since the Taliban last ruled the country from 1996 to 2001, joining previously all-male bastions such as the judiciary, the media and politics.

“All the achievements of 20 years came back to zero within the blink of an eye,” said Freshta Masoni, a family court judge staying in Athens with her toddler daughters.








https://www.facebook.com/events/4752463944866078/ (FRANCAIS)

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Unknown forces threaten Darfur lawyer in Sudanese capital


Deputy head of the Darfur Bar Association, Nafeesa Hajar (File photo)

A group of men riding in a shaded vehicle blocked the car of Nafeesa Hajar, deputy head of the Darfur Bar Association (DBA), when she was heading home in Khartoum on Tuesday evening.

The group, whose identity was not revealed, threatened the lawyer if she and her colleagues would continue to provide legal aid to detained protesters and those who were sexually harassed and raped during the December 25 demonstrations.

The DBA said in a statement yesterday that more of its lawyers have been intimidated in the same way.

The Association stated that it will continue to do its work, which is “providing legal aid to those affected by human rights violations and championing rights and freedoms issues”.

The Darfur lawyers will submit a memorandum to the Attorney General requesting “to take these threats seriously as well as the criminal infringement that may result from them”.








Egypt: Lawyer Amr Imam was imprisoned for two years for his solidarity with his comrades in Egypt


Lawyer Amr Imam was imprisoned for two years for his solidarity with his comrades in Egypt

The last thing Amr Imam wrote on Facebook, “I am being arrested from home” (Facebook)

Two full years have passed since the Egyptian human rights lawyer Amr Imam has been in prison in a solitary cell, since his arrest, on October 16, 2019, from his home at dawn, and his inclusion in case No. 488 of 2019 State Security Inspection, in which he was transferred from a lawyer who Turn in the defense of prisoners of conscience to the accused.

The last thing an imam wrote on his personal account on the social networking site “Facebook” before it was closed completely was, “I am being arrested from the house.”

The Egyptian security forces arrested Amr Imam from his home on October 16, 2019, after he announced on his personal Facebook page that he condemned the arrest and assault of journalist Esraa Abdel Fattah and his solidarity with her. He was arrested on the same day and transferred from a lawyer to a prisoner of conscience. .

Immediately before that, Imam had announced his entry into a partial hunger strike to protest the arrest and torture of his friends, especially the political activist and journalist Esraa Abdel-Fattah, the prominent political activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah, and the human rights lawyer Muhammad Al-Baqer. He said that if the demands were not met, he would escalate his protest by starting with a full hunger strike, then an open sit-in inside a judicial building with his complete hunger strike, then by escalating and announcing that he had stopped taking any liquids other than water, and then by escalating a comprehensive strike and stopping drinking water.

Imam summarized his targeted demands from this solidarity strike in “opening an investigation and hearing the statements of Alaa Abdel-Fattah, as a victim of his torture, transferring Muhammad Al-Baqer and Alaa Abdel-Fattah from a high-security prison 2, and opening an investigation into the torture of Israa Abdel-Fattah and hearing her statements as a victim.” And he opened visits to a high-security prison 2 and empowered all prison inmates “convicted and remanded” of their full rights, as stipulated by the Prison Authority regulation.” He found himself convicted of the same accusations as those who demanded their freedom, and he joins them in the same case.














https://www.em.com.br/app/noticia/internacional/2021/12/20/interna_internacional,1332625/ativista-da-revolucao-egipcia-de-2011-e-condenado-a-5-anos-de-prisao.shtml (PORTUGUES)

https://www.volkskrant.nl/nieuws-achtergrond/jaren-celstraf-voor-drie-prominente-egyptische-activisten~b0f74c7df/ (NEDERLANDS)

IBA appeals to UN for denunciation of Taliban take-over of Afghanistan Independent Bar Association


In an open letter to United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, the International Bar Association (IBA) expressed grave concern over the Taliban take-over of the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association (AIBA) and has appealed for the ‘unparalleled voice’ of the UN to publicly:

  • Denounce the violation of the independence of the legal profession;
  • Raise concern about the appropriation of the AIBA database, which includes details relating to AIBA registered lawyers, staff and committee members; and
  • Condemn the seizure of the AIBA bank account and forfeiture of funds.

Following a recent public announcement by the Taliban stating that it would incorporate the AIBA into its Ministry of Justice (MoJ), the IBA was informed that on 23 November 2021 the Taliban forcefully broke-up a meeting being held in the AIBA office and took control of the Association. As a consequence of this directive and meeting intrusion, the Taliban now has access to the AIBA database that contains the personnel and professional records of Afghanistan’s estimated 2,500 lawyers, as well as AIBA staffers and committee members. The Taliban now also controls the non-governmental organisation’s bank account and funds.

IBA President Sternford Moyo, Chair of the IBA Bar Issues Commission Kimitoshi Yabuki, and IBA Executive Director Dr Mark Ellis, state in the letter that the incorporation of the AIBA into the Taliban’s MoJ has ‘completely compromised the independence of the legal profession in Afghanistan’, and that ‘[t]he ramifications on the Rule of Law, the administration of justice and the further contraction of the rights of women and girls cannot be overestimated.’

The letter states that the AIBA has been stripped of the ‘authority to issue Afghanistan’s lawyers with licences to practice their profession and has demanded that all lawyers that currently hold a licence reapply to the Taliban’s MoJ’, and that ‘those who do not submit applications as directed by the Taliban will be prevented from practising’.




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STRATEGIES OF SILENCE: Repression of Chinese human rights defenders, lawyers & journalists




‘Climate of fear’ prevails for human rights defenders in Afghanistan


In addition to a prolonged drought and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Afghanistan is contending with the upheaval caused by the current political transition.

Human rights defenders in Afghanistan report that they are now enduring a “climate of fear”, threats, and becoming increasingly desperate over conditions in the country, an independent UN expert said on Wednesday.  

Stating that “the threat is very real”, Mary Lawlor, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, called for an urgent coordinated response from the international community. 

“Defenders tell me of direct threats, including gendered threats against women, of beatings, arrests, enforced disappearances, and of defenders being killed. They describe living in a climate of constant fear”, she said

Those most at risk are people documenting alleged war crimes, women, in particular criminal lawyers, cultural rights defenders, especially those working in banned sectors such as musical performance, and others from minority groups. 

Some told Mrs. Lawlor that they have erased their online data history to evade identification, and that the Taliban are using other ways to find them. One of them, for example, was identified by an injury to his leg. 

Urgent action 

According to her, the Taliban have raided offices of human rights and civil society organisations, searching for names, addresses and contacts.  

“Many defenders are well known in their local communities, in particular in rural areas, and have left for the anonymity of the cities, but even there, they are forced to constantly change locations,” the UN expert said. “Most have also lost their source of income, further limiting their options to find safety.” 

Mrs. Lawlor called for immediate international support, including an urgent plan for the evacuation of those at high risk, along with their families. 











UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers: CALL FOR INPUT: Protection of lawyers



Questionnaire for civil society and bar associations

  1. Taking into consideration the guarantees for the functioning of lawyers, contained in principles 16-22 of the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, please describe the constitutional, legal, administrative and policy measures adopted in your country to enable lawyers to exercise their professional activities in favour of their clients in a free and independent manner
  1. What entities and/or mechanisms are in place to prevent and/or punish interferences with the free and independent exercise of the legal profession? Please briefly describe them and specify whether they are independent bodies or if they belong to the administrative structure of the State.
  1. Please indicate if there are any legislative, administrative, or institutional barriers that have hindered the work of lawyers and the exercise of the legal profession in your country, and describe them.
  1. Please describe the role of the national bar association(s) in protecting lawyers and the free exercise of the legal profession. Is the bar association de jure and de facto independent from the State?





Hong Kong: Arrests under security law are serious concern, UN experts call for review 


Hong Kong, Chine. Le 05septembre 2021. Les vice-présidentes de l'Alliance  de Hong Kong pour le soutien des mouvements démocratiques patriotiques de  Chine Chow Hang-Tung ont publiquement rejeté la demande d'information de la

UN human rights experts* expressed deep concern about the arrest of Hong Kong pro-democracy activist and woman human rights defender Chow Hang-Tung on charges of “incitement to subversion” and being a foreign agent, and urged authorities to refrain from the use of the National Security Law and reconsider its application.

Ms. Chow, a human rights lawyer, was arrested on 8 September 2021. She was a member of the Hong Kong Alliance, an advocacy group which organised the annual candlelight vigil marking the 1989 protests in Tiananmen Square. Several other activists have been similarly arrested and charged under the National Security Law.

“Terrorism and sedition charges are being improperly used to stifle the exercise of fundamental rights, which are protected under international law, including freedom of expression and opinion, freedom of peaceful assembly and the right to participate in public affairs,” the experts said.

The experts have communicated in detailed written analysis their concerns to the Government of the People’s Republic of China about the National Security Law in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region highlighting the law’s fundamental incompatibility with international law and with China’s human rights obligations.

The experts also raised their concerns over the qualification of “foreign agent” under the National Security Law, in which reference is made to funding received from foreign governments and activities benefitting them. The experts called on the Government to ensure that associations can seek, receive and use funding from foreign or international sources, without undue impediments.






https://www.rfi.fr/cn/%E4%B8%AD%E5%9B%BD/20211012-%E8%81%94%E5%90%88%E5%9B%BD%E4%BA%BA%E6%9D%83%E4%B8%93%E5%AE%B6%E5%AF%B9%E9%A6%99%E6%B8%AF%E6%A0%B9%E6%8D%AE%E5%9B%BD%E5%AE%89%E6%B3%95%E5%AE%9E%E6%96%BD%E9%80%AE%E6%8D%95%E8%A1%A8%E8%BE%BE%E5%85%B3%E5%88%87 (CHINESE)

https://www.notimerica.com/politica/noticia-china-onu-pide-hong-kong-reconsidere-ley-seguridad-nacional-20211013075949.html (ESPANOL)

Venezuela: Intimidation and threat of arrest against rights lawyers Juan Carlos Barroeta Rivas and Engels Puertas


On 6 October 2021, a judge and a prosecutor of the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Criminal Judicial Circuit of the state of Merida in Venezuela threatened to order the arrest of human rights lawyers Engels Puertas and Juan Carlos Barroeta Rivas, accusing them of defamation. The threat was made in the middle of a trial in which Engels Puertas and Juan Carlos Barroeta Rivas were acting as legal representatives on the defence team.

Engels Puertas is a lawyer and human rights defender. For more than six years he has been defending people who have been incriminated in unjust criminal proceedings. Engels is also a member of the legal team in the organisation 100% Estrogen, where he works on cases with a gender perspective. He also directs the organisation Iniciativa Para Una Justicia Igualitaria, where he works alongside lawyer and human rights defender Juan Carlos Barroeta Rivas, who has been litigating in defence of human rights, specifically in favour of the right to a legitimate defence of victims and the right to due process of their defendants.

Human rights lawyers Engels Puertas and Juan Carlos Barroeta Rivas are part of the defence team of the case of 2 individuals who were arbitrarily detained and allegedly tortured in prison. The case has been ongoing for over 5 years. On 6 October 2021, when the case was being heard before the Criminal Judicial Circuit of the state of Merida, Engels Puertas and Juan Carlos Barroeta Rivas were threatened by the prosecutor one day after they recused and denounced the judge presiding over the case in the Venezuelan General Inspectorate of Courts for alleged violations of due process. The judge in question declared the accusations by the human rights defenders inadmissible and threatened to file a complaint against them in order to remove them from the case and inhibit their work as defence lawyers. The judge, while deciding to continue the trial and ignoring the complaint against him, has appointed other public lawyers to represent the defendants, ignoring their appeal to continue with their lawyers.




https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/es/case/intimidation-and-threat-arrest-against-human-rights-lawyers-juan-carlos-barroeta-rivas-and (ESPANOL)