Posts Tagged ‘IBA’

Law Society of Ontario reflects on how to support human rights lawyers abroad

January 28, 2020

LSO event explores nuances of supporting human rights abroad
Teresa Donnelly, who leads the LSO’s Human Rights Monitoring Group, spoke at the Osgoode Hall event in Toronto commemorating International Day of the Endangered Lawyer 2020.
On 27 January 2020 Anita Balakrishnan wrote in the Canadian Law Times about the International Day of the Endangered Lawyer which in 2020 focused on lawyers in Pakistan [see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2020/01/17/24-january-day-of-the-endangered-lawye-aba-focuses-on-pakistan/ ]
When supporting colleagues abroad, lawyers should consider offering behind-the-scenes support as well as making public statements, a Pakistan-based journalist told an audience at the Law Society of Ontario last week. “What has to be really kept in mind is how that support is voiced and contextualized,” said Beena Sarwar. “If it takes a simplistic view or plays into anti-Pakistan rhetoric …. it’s so easy to make Pakistan a scapegoat and target.” Sarwar, whose blog has gained international acclaim for its coverage of freedom, human rights, peace and even influential jurists, was one speaker at the Law Society of Ontario’s International Day of the Endangered Lawyer 2020, hosted at Osgoode Hall in Toronto on 24 January by the Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

This year, lawyers organized a protest at the Pakistani embassy at the Hague. Past events focused on Egypt, Turkey, China and Honduras, among others.

The LSO’s Human Rights Monitoring Group has issued several statements about treatment of lawyers in Pakistan over the past few years.  In the aftermath of the Kasi attack, the LSO urged the Pakistani government to “put an end to all acts of violence against lawyers and human rights defenders in Pakistan,” and “ensure that all lawyers can carry out their legitimate activities without fear of physical violence or other human rights violations.

Other incidents that have been condemned by the LSO are the 2015 murder of Samiullah Afridi (a lawyer who defended a doctor that allegedly assisted CIA agents with their hunt for al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden); and a suicide bomb attack on the Pakistani judiciary.

Over the past decades, lawyers in Pakistan have been subjected to acts of mass terrorism, murder, attempted murder, assaults, (death) threats, contempt proceedings, harassment and intimidation, as well as judicial harassment and torture in detention, merely for engaging in their professional duties as lawyers,” a letter from Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada said earlier this month. “Their families also have been targeted, and some have even been murdered. Some lawyers have also been threatened with disbarment and/or had their homes and offices raided by the police.

At the event, bencher Teresa Donnelly read a letter the law society had received from a Pakistani lawyer. Lawyers cannot become “heroes,” Donnelly recounted from the email. Instead, she said, the writer felt the role of lawyers was to “focus on their work improving the justice system.”  While support is needed for the Pakistani bar, Sarwar explained that Western organizations must be careful not to jump to issue statements that play into conspiracy theories about Western involvement. Abdul (Hamid) Bashani Khan, a lawyer at the Abdul Hamid Khan Law Office in Mississauga, also spoke on the panel, where speakers highlighted some of the common misunderstandings of the situation in Pakistan, particularly amid anti-Muslim rhetoric publicized in the post-911 era. For example, panelists said the bench and bar are portrayed as both very strong — given the influence of the lawyers’ movement of Pakistan — and also very weak, in the fight for judicial independence and public support. In 2014, a lawyer was killed after representing a high-profile professor charged with blasphemy.

To mark the Day of the Endangered Lawyer, the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute released a toolkit to help the legal community navigate the complex task of protecting lawyers at risk. The three-part kit includes supports for risk management, human rights mechanisms, emergency protocols, legal frameworks, international protection, security plans and response chains.

Azerbaijan’s Intigam Aliyev receives IBA Human Rights Award 2015

October 9, 2015

Intigam Aliyev, President of the Legal Education Society (LES), Azerbaijan, was today named the winner of the 2015 International Bar Association (IBA) Human Rights Award. The Award was presented by IBA President, David W Rivkin. A political prisoner in Azerbaijan, Mr Aliyev was unable to collect the Award in person. His son and daughter travelled to Vienna and collected the Award, on Friday 9 October, on his behalf. For more on the IBA award: http://www.brandsaviors.com/thedigest/award/iba-human-rights-award 

In a letter read by his son Necmin Kamilsoy, Mr Aliyev said, ‘When I heard about this prestigious Award, I felt honour and happiness with sadness at the same time. Today, in my country, my friends, colleagues, conscientious people, are facing prosecutions, pressures, and imprisonments. They deserve this award at least as much as I do. Therefore, I am accepting this award on behalf of them. I share my deep gratitude with the IBA for appreciating my efforts in such a way, as well as with all organisations that nominated me for this award.

Mr Aliyev won earlier the Homo Homini Award (2012). https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2013/03/07/azerbaijan-harasses-human-rights-defenders-even-the-recipient-of-the-homo-homini-award/

To read Mr Aliyev’s acceptance letter in full click here.

Source: HRI – Intigam Aliyev receives IBA Human Rights Award 2015 for outstanding contribution to human rights

Bangladesh Human Rights Defender Adilur accorded more awards

October 29, 2014

Adilur Rahman Khan addresses weeklong IBA annual conference in Tokyo, Japan ended on Friday. Photo: AHRC Press Centre

Adilur Rahman Khan addresses IBA annual conference in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: AHRC Press Centre

Bangladesh human rights defender Adilur Rahman Khan, of the human rights organisation Odhikar, has won the 2014 International Bar Association (IBA) Human Rights Award.

For more on these awards see: http://www.brandsaviors.com/thedigest/awards.
Adilur received the award from IBA President Michael Reynolds at the Rule of Law Symposium held at the conclusion of the IBA Annual Conference in Tokyo, which finished on 24 October. In October 1994, he founded the human rights organisation Odhikar, which has undertaken extensive fact-finding and reporting of human rights violations in Bangladesh. During the presentation of the award, Reynolds said, “Let us be reminded that lawyers play a vital role in promoting justice, human rights and upholding the rule of law, both at home and abroad.  May Mr Khan’s courage, determination and resilience be an inspiration to lawyers everywhere.”In his acceptance speech, Adilur told the 200 delegates gathered at the Symposium, ‘The Rule of Law is under serious threat in my country. Justice for all the ongoing gross human rights violations is inaccessible for victims and their families.  Their right to access to complaint mechanisms is denied, regardless of whatever is written in the laws or the Constitution of the country”. Repressive laws are in force and the independence of the judiciary is under attack in a spree of politicisation of institutions of the state, he added.

via Adilur gets IBA int’l human rights award.

Abdolfattah Soltani awarded IBA Human Rights Award Lawyers for Lawyers

October 10, 2012

Iranian lawyer and human rights defender Abdolfattah Soltani recevied on 5 October the 2012International Bar AssociationHuman Rights Award. The announcement came during the International Bar Association (IBA) Annual Conference taking place in Dublin, Ireland.

Mr Soltani, who co-founded the Defenders of Human Rights Centre (DHRC) with Nobel Peace Prize winner Ms Shirin Ebadi, has worked courageously and determinedly throughout his career to provide pro bono legal counsel to those in need.

As a result of his human rights defence work, Mr Soltani has endured persistent persecution from the Iranian government and has been imprisoned on several occasions. He is currently serving a 13-year prison sentence in Iran that stems from a number of charges including co-founding the DHRC, spreading anti-government propaganda and endangering national security. The imprisonment began on 4 March 2012.

Among Mr Soltani’s high profile cases are:

  • Nasrin Soutoudeh, a journalist and human rights lawyer; 2012 nominee of the MEA
  • Akbar Ghanji a human rights activist, who exposed the involvement of several government officials in the murder of intellectuals and journalists in the 1990s; MEA Laureate of 2006 and
  • Zahra Kazemi, a Canadian-Iranian journalist arrested for taking photographs in front of Evin prison in July 2003. Ms Kazemi died in the same prison several days later.

In addition, Mr Soltani has defended teachers, protesters, other fellow human rights lawyers, political activists, students, and several Baha’I (Iranian minority group) leaders. In many instances other lawyers refused to take on these cases because of the risks involved.

 

 

Iran Abdolfattah Soltani awarded with IBA Human Rights Award Lawyers for Lawyers.