Tag Archives: United Nations

Afghanistan: Male judges and prosecutors left behind in ‘forgotten crisis’


The Taliban’s increasingly draconian policies in Afghanistan, the return to Sharia law and attacks on women’s rights have rightly drawn the world’s attention. However, almost 18 months after the Taliban seized power, there are growing calls to ensure that Afghan men, including those working in the legal profession, are also safe from harm.

Imogen Canavan, a Legal Consultant at the Max Planck Foundation for International Peace and the Rule of Law, has worked closely with the IBA and the International Association of Women Judges to evacuate vulnerable Afghans since August 2021. As part of these efforts, hundreds of female judges deemed to be at risk were evacuated alongside their families and have since been resettled in Canada, Australia, Germany, the UK, Ireland, New Zealand and Iceland.

While Canavan says these efforts are to be hugely commended, she’s increasingly concerned for the safety of male judges in Afghanistan who are now being forced to impose Sharia Law. ‘One of the focuses for me as a consequence of this work has been the male judges, because I feel like they’re a much bigger group,’ she says. ‘There are about 200 female judges, but there are about 2,000 male judges. What we see in terms of security risks for them is mostly kidnappings of the eldest son. They usually want the judge to present themselves to the Taliban in exchange for the son. Then often we anticipate that this would be likely to result in killing or certainly torture. There’s extortion as well.’

Safiya was an Afghan national working in the UK last August when the Taliban seized Kabul. Though she had no previous links to the legal profession, she, like Canavan, found herself fully immersed in the evacuation efforts. Safiya has watched in horror at how women have been steadily removed from nearly all areas of public life in Afghanistan, but says many male judges could be even more at risk than their female counterparts. ‘A lot of very well-known male judges were left behind,’ she says. ‘That’s the thing that upset me the most because all these men at the top of their field were getting in touch with me, but there was no evacuation mechanism for them. They’re the ones that are most in need now.’

Canavan says it was also a mistake that prosecutors weren’t deemed at risk enough to be evacuated by governments and humanitarian organisations in the wake of the Taliban takeover. ‘They are being attacked with knives and guns and their homes are being burnt down,’ she says. ‘Like legal academics, this group has not been prioritised, has been left behind and nobody’s thinking about them.’



Click to access ILAC_Afghanistan_Report_2023-2.pdf




https://news.un.org/fr/story/2023/01/1131517 (FRANCAIS)


Iran Protests: At Least 44 Defense Attorneys Arrested Since September


Crackdown Aimed at Destroying Any Chance of Fair Trials for Protesters

Detainees Forced to Use Court-Appointed Lawyers

While the Islamic Republic has been gunning down and executing street protesters, it has also been arresting defense attorneys—at least 44 since September—to block their ability to seek justice for arbitrarily arrested activists and street protesters, according to research by the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).

Meanwhile, detainees continue to be forced to use lawyers from a list approved by Judiciary Chief Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ejei, a known human rights violator. This list only includes court-approved lawyers who either collaborate with the state security establishment or who do not have the resources to defend their clients.

“Due process in line with internationally recognized standards hasn’t existed in the Islamic Republic for decades,” said Ghaemi. “Yet there are still lawyers in the country who try to squeeze out any form of defense they can for their clients, or advocate for them publicly, which is why the Islamic Republic is jailing them.”

“The Islamic Republic is trying to silence dissent from every angle, including by killing or jailing those who raise their voices and completely eliminating defendants’ right to a fair trial,” he added.

“Human rights lawyers have been a lifeline and voice for activists seeking basic rights, so the authorities are trying to eliminate the last few lawyers in Iran still able and willing to take on these cases,” he said.

CHRI urges bar associations around the world to highlight individual cases of detained rights lawyers and strongly condemn their persecution, especially in international forums such as legal conferences, and to call attention to the systematic denial of due process in the Islamic Republic—including in death penalty cases where lives are at stake.

Already four young men have been hanged in brief, closed trials where independent counsel was denied, 20 are on death row, and at least 42 are facing charges that can carry the death penalty, according to research by CHRI.

Independent Lawyers Blocked from Defending Detainees, Persecuted for Advocating their Cases

“There are several groups of lawyers in Iran,” explained a lawyer in Iran who spoke to CHRI on condition of anonymity for security reasons. “First, there are independent human rights lawyers who will take cases regarding prisoners whose rights are being denied; these lawyers will speak to the media to generate public support for their clients and will refuse to cooperate with the security agencies.”

“The second kind are public defenders who represent people who cannot afford legal counsel. Some of them do their job responsibly, but others do not,” added the lawyer. “There’s a third group of so-called ‘telephone lawyers’ who have the approval of the judiciary and then there are some lawyers who closely cooperate with security officials.”

In other words, without independent counsel, itself an obligatory due process right, a fair trial is rendered impossible; public defenders either lack the experience in the defense of human rights (especially in cases of this magnitude), or are themselves in cahoots with Iran’s security agencies, and the state-appointed attorneys in Iran designated for so-called “national security” cases uniformly do the bidding of the security agencies.







https://news.un.org/fr/story/2023/01/1131202 (FRANCAIS)



Burma: Myanmar court imprisons detained opposition official’s lawyer for 15 years


Ywat Nu Aung, who represented the NLD’s vice chair, is sentenced to 15 years with hard labor.

A secret court in Myanmar on Wednesday sentenced the lawyer representing a leader of the former ruling political party to 15 years in prison with hard labor, according to an attorney with knowledge of the country’s judicial proceedings.

The military tribunal in Mandalay’s Obo Prison sentenced Ywat Nu Aung, who represented Zaw Myint Maung, a vice chair of the National League for Democracy Party, on charges of aiding a terrorist organization, the attorney told Radio Free Asia, speaking on condition of anonymity, citing fear of reprisal. 

The move is the latest by the military junta, which took control of the government in a February coup, to target political opponents and anyone representing them. At least six Mandalay lawyers representing NLD members have been arrested.

Ywat Nu Aung, 43, was arrested on April 27 and convicted of abetting terrorists after the chief of the Mandalay police brought a lawsuit against her, accusing her of providing 300,000 kyats, or about U.S.$140, to the Mandalay People’s Defense Force, a regional anti-junta resistance group.

Prior to her arrest, Ywat Nu Aung, who is also a human rights lawyer, was handling the cases of regional government officials and NLD members. 

She also represented the victim of the so-called Victoria case, a widely followed incident of child rape in the capital of Naypyidaw.

In July, sources close to the legal community told RFA that Tin Win Aung, U Thuta, and an unidentified person – three lawyers who were representing clients in anti-regime political cases – had been arrested in Mandalay on their return from working at Obo Prison’s court. 




300 female judges in Afghanistan prior to Taliban capture, none now


Taliban rule in Afghanistan is brutally crushing women’s rights in the country. In August last year, right after capturing Afghanistan, the Talban had imposed restrictions on women’s education, employment, and travel, and had started changing the laws to imprison women inside their homes. To show the world, they took the support of clerics to implement their laws, and then imposed a ban on the women’s government and private sector jobs. To stop the women, the Taliban security forces intimidated women, arrested them, and even kidnapped them.

Khadija Ahmadi, Afghanistan’s women rights worker, said that the Taliban has stopped women from practicing as judges and lawyers in the courts. Prior to the Taliban’s capture of the country, there were around 300 women judges in Afghanistan, and due to the Taliban government, these women had to flee the country.

As per Khadija, the Taliban’s ways are serious as far as women’s social condition and psychological wellbeing is concerned, and the regime wants to establish women as second-class citizens in the country. Particularly, it wants young men and boys to become supremacists and women as objects of use for them and their homes. Because of the restrictions, thousands of families have fled to neighbouring countries like Pakistan, Iran, and Turkey, along with their women.

Pakistan is at the top of the list of countries where a large number of Afghan refugees reached during the last months. Many Afghan students are now studying in Pakistan.



















https://www.lalibre.be/international/asie/2022/12/21/bientot-les-talibans-diront-aux-femmes-quil-est-interdit-de-respirer-S7TA6KCYO5HW5FKTULHEZZDQOY/ (FRANCAIS)

Iran/Afghanistan: Des avocats belges se réunissent pour dénoncer la situation de l’accueil des réfugiés en Belgique


Les barreaux de Bruxelles, Charleroi, Dinant, Liège-Huy, Luxembourg, Mons, Namur, Tournai et Verviers ont manifesté devant le palais de justice de Bruxelles, lundi, dans le cadre de la journée des droits humains du 10 décembre.

Les avocats ont décidé de se rassembler pour soutenir les avocats iraniens et afghans ainsi que pour dénoncer la situation de l’accueil des réfugiés en Belgique, en particulier ceux originaires de ces deux pays.

Nous sommes face à une situation complètement inédite en droit belge. Nous avons des milliers de personnes qui viennent demander une protection internationale. Nous avons l’obligation de les accueillir et nous ne le faisons pas.” a affirmé le président de l’ONG Avocats sans frontières, Me Patrick Henry.


Les avocats se sont d’abord rassemblés à 12h00 à l’entrée du palais de justice de Bruxelles, où le bâtonnier de l’Ordre français du barreau de Bruxelles, Me Emmanuel Plasschaert et la bâtonnière du barreau de Charleroi, Me Nathalie Monforti se sont exprimés devant un rassemblement d’une centaine de personnes. L’accent était porté sur la situation des avocats, persécutés par les pouvoirs en place en Afghanistan et en Iran.

Les différents barreaux présents à la manifestation ont fait le choix de soutenir les ressortissants afghans, dont ils estiment que la situation ne fait que s’aggraver notamment depuis que les talibans ont repris le pouvoir en août 2021. Et également les ressortissants iraniens, dont ils estiment que les droits humains et libertés fondamentales sont bafoués. “Nous ne l’accepterons jamais et serons toujours du côté des oppressés” a affirmé Me Emmanuel Palschaaerts.

37 avocats emprisonnés en Iran

Me Nathalie Monforti a par la suite mentionné les noms de 37 avocats emprisonnés en Iran “simplement pour avoir exercé leur métier“.










https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/12/13/iran-death-sentences-against-protesters (ENGLISH)










https://iranhr.net/fa/articles/5631/ (FARSI)


The Philippines: Complaint on killings of lawyers, prosecutors, judges filed with UN to hold PH ‘accountable’


A complaint to hold the Philippine government accountable for the attacks and killings of lawyers, prosecutors and judges has been filed before the United Nations (UN).

The complaint was filed by the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) before the office of UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Lawyers and Judges Margaret Satterthwaite in Geneva, Switzerland.

NUPL is a member of the of the Philippine Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Watch.

Incidentally, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin C. Remulla will leave for Geneva on Friday, Nov. 11, to lead the Philippine delegation for the 4th Cycle of the UPR of the Philippines, a preview mechanism of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

The UPR is “a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all UN Member States.”

In its complaint, the NUPL cited that it has “recorded 86 killings of lawyers, judges and prosecutors among a total of 262 work-related attacks in the past 15 years.”

“Five of the victims of killings were NUPL members whose clients include indigenous peoples, peasants, farmers, workers, environment advocates, political prisoners and human rights defenders,” it said.




Egypt: Two lawyers arrested as world leaders convene for Cop27 summit 


Egyptian security forces arrested two lawyers from their homes in Cairo and Giza, a rights group said on Tuesday, as world leaders convened in Sharm el-Sheikh to discuss climate change at the Cop27 conference. 

The home of Ahmad Natheer al-Helo in the capital Cairo was raided by police on Monday, before he was taken away to an unknown location, according to the Egyptian Network for Human Rights (ENHR). The reasons for his arrest were not made clear. 

A day earlier, the home of another lawyer named Ahmad Ghurab was raided in the neighbouring Giza governorate. Ghurab was asked about the whereabouts of his son, who was not home at the time, before being detained, ENHR said. 

Ahmed Attar, executive director of ENHR, told Middle East Eye the arrests come amid a “fierce crackdown campaign” by the government in recent weeks. 

“Up to 1,000 people have been detained, most of them young people, in a campaign that targeted journalists, lawyers and other citizens in fear of possible protests on 11 November,” Attar said. 

‘Up to 1,000 people have been detained, most of them young people, in a campaign that targeted journalists, lawyers and other citizens in fear of possible protests on 11 November’ 

– Ahmed Attar, ENHR

Egyptian authorities have increased security across the country ahead of hosting the Cop27 summit in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh between 6 and 18 November.











https://www.hrw.org/ar/news/2022/11/06/egypt-arrests-curbs-protests-cop27-nears (ARABIC)

https://fr.timesofisrael.com/cop27-berlin-critique-la-situation-des-droits-de-lhomme-en-egypte/ (FRANCAIS)


https://jernih.co/crispy/seiring-gelar-ktt-cop27-mesir-penjarakan-aktivis-dan-pengacara/ (INDONESIAN)

Guyana: Lawyers protest prolonged investigations in arrest of attorney Tameika Clarke


In what is seemingly a first, attorneys are protesting in their robes over the arrest of attorney-at-law Tameika Clarke on Friday last by ranks of the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU).

Clarke was detained after she advised her client to remain silent.

Clarke told reporters that she is not satisfied with the slothfulness of the investigations into the incident.

“I am not satisfied because I would have expected by now that the Commissioner of Police would have issued a statement at least acknowledging certain basic principles, such that a counsel has the right to instruct the client to remain silent and I have not heard any word to date from the Commissioner of Police,” Clarke related.

She said that legal proceedings against SOCU will be filed sometime on Friday or Monday. Clarke has said that legal proceedings are important to prevent a recurrence.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, SC, Anil Nandlall in a video statement following the protest said the government does not condone the incident.

“Our government is committed to the rule of law, we are committed to obedience of the constitution, we are committed to ensure that the rights and freedom of our people are respected and the laws of this land are upheld.

“There is no policy of our government that would ever be subversive to the rule of law or the constitutional rights of Guyanese,” Nandlall said.

According to Nandlall $50 million is being demanded in compensation by Clarke.

On Friday, Clarke was supported by several attorneys who used their lunch break to stage the demonstration with placards that read: “Lawyers should represent without fear”, “Respect the rule of law” and The right to remain silent is not a crime”.



Caribbean Bar Association, Commonwealth lawyers group hammer SOCU for `unlawful’ arrest of attorney



Sudanese Bar Association attacked by former regime lawyers, police crack down on Lawyers House


Police prevented lawyers from the Sudanese Bar Association (SBA) from entering the Lawyers House, denied them food and water, and deployed additional reinforcements. This came after the house witnessed an attack by members of the former regime’s Lawyers Syndicate as authorities decided to reinstate unions from the Al Bashir era.

On Thursday, the police prevented lawyers from the Sudanese Bar Association (SBA) from entering the Lawyers House in Khartoum and deployed additional military reinforcements in the vicinity of the house after members of the former regime’s lawyers syndicate violently confronted members of the SBA steering committee on Tuesday.

Lawyer Rehab El Mubarak told Radio Dabanga that the policemen in charge of securing the building of the Sudanese Bar Association prevented lawyers from entering the house yesterday morning. The police have surrounded the building.

These same forces prevented the entry of water and food for the lawyers present in the house on Wednesday in an attempt to force them to leave the house and close it. A number of the lawyers inside suffer from diabetes so food and water are essential.

Dozens of lawyers are protesting inside the house, refusing to leave and hand over the house to remnants of the former regime.

The Lawyers House witnessed an assault on Tuesday, at which point the lawyers released the following appeal: “The Sudanese Lawyers House lawyers are being attacked with batons and tear gas, stones were thrown at the house, and shots were fired by members of the dissolved National Congress Party regime and armed groups wearing civilian clothes”.

They called “on unions, other professional bodies, the resistance committees, and other revolutionary forces that reject the coup and believe in democratic and civil transformation to head towards the Sudanese Lawyers House in El Amarat Street 61, support those present in it, and provide protection to them in the absence of the police performing their duty”.

The police were allegedly involved in the attack and it took until Wednesday morning for the SBA steering committee to regain control of the building. The police forces however did not retreat and surrounded the building.

Lawyer Hala Abu Garoun told Radio Dabanga that a police force wearing civilian clothes carrying skewers, sticks, and stones stormed the Lawyers’ House after the members of the former regime’s union withdrew.  

This was after the Lawyers Syndicate members had entered the building and told the SBA lawyers to leave. They attacked lawyers by beating them and throwing stones.

Some lawyers sustained injuries.







Morocco: L’avocat Mohamed El Haini suspendu par le Barreau de Rabat


Le Barreau de Rabat a suspendu l’avocat Mohamed El Haini de ses fonctions pour une durée de 3 ans, lors d’un conseil de discipline tenu mardi 18 octobre 2022.

Cette décision a été prise pour des “raisons disciplinaires”, “suite à des accusations de propos violents et insultants contre un bâtonnier du barreau de Rabat et son Conseil”.

Réagissant à cet arrêt, l’Association de Défense des Droits de l’Homme a affirmé, dans un communiqué, qu’”elle a été étonnée par une telle décision prise par une ancienne entité connue par son militantisme de défendre les droits de l’Homme, de la liberté d’expression et de la profession de l’avocat, considérée comme une véritable école de droit au fil des générations”.

L’association a rassuré, dans le même communiqué, tous ses membres et a indiqué qu’”elle entend contester cette décision auprès de la Cour d’appel de Rabat et que le différend sera résolu sur la base de la sagesse, de la patience et de la loi”.




https://news.eseuro.com/noticias/1067087.html (ESPANOL)


https://www.ohchr.org/en/instruments-mechanisms/instruments/basic-principles-role-lawyers (ENGLISH)