Posts Tagged ‘lawyers’

Prominent UK lawyers: Suspend Saudi Arabia from UN Human Rights Council

February 2, 2018

In July 2016 two major NGOs (HRW and AI) teamed up to try and get Saudi Arabia suspended from the UN Human Rights Council ( Now Al-Jazeera reports that British lawyers have called for Saudi Arabia to be removed from the United Nations Human Rights Council, stating that the kingdom detains political and free speech activists without charge.

In a report released on Wednesday 31 January 2018 in London, Rodney Dixon QC and Lord Kenneth Donald John Macdonald said more than 60 individuals were detained in September last year, “many of whom are believed to be human rights defenders or political activists”.

“Our main recommendation is that steps should be taken by the General Assembly to suspend the government of Saudi Arabia from the [UN] Human Rights Council,” Dixon told Al Jazeera. It is “completely contradictory and ironic for a government with systemic patterns of abuse – as we have highlighted in the report – to be sitting on the council, and in fact previously to have chaired the council….That suspension will act as a major lever for the government to clean up their act and make a proper new start.”

The report, titled Shrouded in secrecy: the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia following arrests in September 2017, was commissioned by the relatives of detainees and will be forwarded to Saudi authorities. “Those detained have not been charged with any offence, and the information about the reasons for their arrests and circumstances of their imprisonment are very limited,” the report said. “There is cause for serious concern about the treatment of many of those detained, including Mr Salman Al-Awda who has recently been hospitalised and others who are, effectively, disappeared.” Awda is one of Saudi’s most popular Muslim leaders with almost 150 million followers on Twitter. He was recently hospitalised after five months of solitary confinement. It remains unclear why he was arrested..

Saudi Arabia’s membership in the United Nations Human Rights Council expires in 2019. “The suspension of membership rights is not simply a hypothetical possibility,” the report said.In February 2011, the council called for Libya to be suspended as the government of Muammar Gaddafi was being accused of human rights violations against civilians during the uprising. A month later, the General Assembly voted for the suspension of Libya’s membership – marking the first time it has used its power to revoke a country’s membership.

Principles on the Role of Judges and Lawyers in relation to Refugees and Migrants

June 11, 2017

An interesting and timely document that deserves more attention than it is getting:

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has published a set of Principles on the Role of Judges and Lawyers in relation to Refugees and Migrants.

The Principles were developed by the ICJ on the basis of consultations with senior judges, lawyers, and legal scholars working in the field of international refugee and migration law (including at the 2016 Geneva Forum of Judges & Lawyers), as well consultations with States and other stakeholders on a draft version during the March 2017 Human Rights Council session, and other feedback.

The Principles seek to help judges and lawyers, as well as legislators and other government officials, better secure human rights and the rule of law in the context of large movements of refugees and migrants. They are intended to complement existing relevant legal and other international instruments, including the New York Declaration, as well as the Principles and practical guidance on the protection of the human rights of migrants in vulnerable situations within large and/or mixed movements being developed by the OHCHR.

The Principles address the role of judges and lawyers in relation to, among other aspects:

  • determinations of entitlement to international protection;
  • deprivation of liberty;
  • removals;
  • effective remedy and access to justice;
  • independence, impartiality, and equality before the law;
  • conflicts between national and international law.

The Principles, together with commentary, can be downloaded in PDF format by clicking here: ICJ Refugee Migrant Principles 2017.

The ICJ formally launched the published version of the Principles at a side event to the June 2017 session of the Human Rights Council (click here for details), where their importance and utility were recognised by the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, as well as representatives of UNHCR and the OHCHR. The ICJ had earlier released the final text in connection with the Thematic Session on “Human rights of all migrants” for the UN General Assembly Preparatory Process for the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration to be held in Geneva 8-9 May 2017, where in an oral statementthe ICJ was able to highlight the potential utility of the Principles in the development of the Compact.

More information about the process of development of the Principles, including the list of participants to the 2016 Geneva Forum, is available here. The consultations, preparation and publication of the Principles was made possible with the financial support of the Genève Internationale office of the Republic and Canton of Geneva. For further information, please contact ICJ Senior Legal Adviser Matt Pollard, matt.pollard(a)

Source: Principles on the Role of Judges and Lawyers in relation to Refugees and Migrants | ICJ

Letter from legal experts on detained lawyers in China

January 19, 2016

On 18 January 2016 Human Rights Watch published an open Letter from Legal Experts on detained lawyers in China. []. The letter, reproduced below, tries to link the Chinese leaders to their earlier promises that ‘China is a country ruled by law’ and that ‘every individual Party organisation and Party member must abide by the country’s constitution and laws and must not take the Party’s leadership as a privilege to violate them.’ It concludes that the events described appear entirely contrary to those commitments. The list of signatories is impressive.  Read the rest of this entry »

Persecution of Lawyers and Journalists in Turkey: side event in Geneva on 27 January

January 23, 2015

L4L logo Lawyers for Lawyers, the Law Society of England and Wales,  Lawyers Rights Watch Canada, Privacy International, Fair Trial Watch and Media Legal Defence Initiative organise  a panel discussion on the “Persecution of Lawyers and Journalists in Turkey” on Tuesday, 27 January, in Geneva, Immediately after the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on Turkey,

 At this event fundamental rights of lawyers and journalists that are regularly being violated will be discussed, including freedom of expression, privacy, confidentiality between lawyers and their clients and the protection of sources by journalists. This event comes at a time when the rule of law in Turkey is under serious threat.

[Turkey has adopted new laws and judicial reform packages, allowing for even more internet censorship, data collection, surveillance and the censoring of critical views on the pretence of protecting national security, which are directly undermining the freedom of expression, but also other fundamental rights such as privacy. In particular, journalists and lawyers are negatively impacted. They are subject to surveillance and legal harassment. The last couple of years large groups of lawyers and journalists have been arrested on the suspicion of terrorism related offences. Lawyers face stigmatisation by being continuously identified with their clients’ causes. Journalists are accused of not being independent. For both groups it is hard, if not impossible, to work freely, independently and securely.]


Ayse Bingol – Lawyer from Turkey

Tayfun Ertan – Journalist from Turkey

Marietje Schaake (by Skype) – Member European Parliament

Alexandrine Pirlot de Corbion – Privacy International

Tony Fisher – The Law Society of England and Whales

Moderator:  Irma van den Berg – Turkey expert of Lawyers for Lawyers

The event takes place from 12h45 – 14h30 in Room XXIII, Palais des Nations. Those wishing to attend, send email – before 23 January – to : bp[at]

Turkey 27 January in Geneva; side-event Persecution of Lawyers and Journalists in Turkey Lawyers for Lawyers.

Lawyers for Lawyers raises the alarm: Filipino lawyers at risk

April 24, 2014


Cathy Salucon, Philippines via L4L

Cathy Salucon, Philippines via L4L

On 23 April 2014 Amsterdam-based Lawyers for Lawyers (L4L) and Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC) warn in an open letter to President Aquino of the Philippines for the continued labeling of lawyers as enemies of the state by the military. Since March, Atty. Maria Catherine L. Dannug-Salucon has been the subject of death threats, labeling, surveillance and verbal intimidation by military officers. Mrs Dannug-Salucon is reportedly on the Filipino military’s Watch List of so-called ‘Communist Terrorist’ supporters providing legal services.  She has also been under the surveillance of the Intelligence Services of the Armed Forces. The surveillance is particularly worrisome in view of the killing – reportedly by members of the Intelligence Services – on 25 March 2014 of Mr. William Bugatti, a human rights defender who was also working as a paralegal for Atty. Dannug-Salucon.
Read the rest of this entry »

Due to lack of funding INTERIGHTS ceases to exist

April 4, 2014

After 32 years, the NGO “INTERIGHTS” [International Centre for the Legal Protection of Human Rights] ceases to exist as from 27 May 2014 due to lack of funding. This is bad news but at least there is a clear public statement. Too often human rights NGOs or awards are announced with great pomp but their demise is muffled. The Executive Director John Wadham made the following clear-headed statement: Read the rest of this entry »

THE SILENCED VOICES OF SYRIA: Special campaign aimed at Human Rights Defenders

March 16, 2014

While the whole of the Syrian population suffers terribly, it is important to recognize that human rights defenders, activists, media and humanitarian workers have been particularly targeted for their work since the beginning of the Syrian uprising three years ago. Many have been arrested or abducted by either government forces and pro-government militias or by non-state armed groups. The channels for obtaining reliable information are drying up and that is certainly not a coincidence.

Now several international NGOs such as Amnesty International, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network, FIDH, Frontline Defenders, Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders have come together to work jointly, with other international, regional and Syrian organizations, to campaign for the release of  these Silenced Voices of Syria.  The campaign is starting with the documentation of 37 emblematic cases.

This campaign will use a three-pronged strategy  of 1. Research and Documentation, 2. Information/Sensitisation and 3/ Mobilization.

via FREE SILENCED VOICES OF SYRIA | Civil society activists, media and medical workers targeted for their work.

Two Human Rights Defenders in Uzbekistan Sentenced to more than 8 Years

March 15, 2014

On 6 March 2014, in Tashkent the trial of two members of the Mazlum Human Rights Center took place: Fakhriddin Tillaev and Nuriddin Jumaniyazov. They were charged under Art. 135 of the Criminal Code (“trafficking in persons”). The prosecutor asked for 12 years of imprisonment. The court sentenced both the human rights advocates to 10 years and 8 months of imprisonment and applied the amnesty act passed by the Senate of Uzbekistan. The final term of punishment was thus still 8 years and 3 months of imprisonment.
Fakhriddin Tillaev

Iran: Human Rights Defenders, arbitrarily detained, are made to suffer again through lack of medical care

March 10, 2014

The FIDH, on 6 March 2014, issued a statement on the lack of access to medical care for human rights defenders in Iran, resulting in further deterioration of their health FIDH fears this may amount to a systematic practice aiming at further intimidating civil society voices critical of the regime.logo FIDH_seul

On March 2, 2014, several prisoners of conscience detained in Evin prison, Tehran, wrote their second Read the rest of this entry »

Solidarity Foundation for Human Rights reports two human rights defenders kidnapped in Nablus

February 26, 2014

On 25 February 2014 the International Middle East Media Centre [IMEMC] carries a report from the Palestinian Solidarity Foundation for Human Rights (SFHR) that Israeli soldiers kidnapped on Tuesday its lawyer and its researcher, after the army violently invaded their homes in the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

The lawyer is Fares Riyad Abu al-Hasan and the researcher Ahmad Hamed al-Beetawy. The NGO said dozens of soldiers invaded the home of Abu al-Hasan, in the Rojeeb Housing Projects area, east of Nablus, and kidnapped him after violently searching his home causing property damage. The soldiers detonated the door of Abu al-Hasan’s home, invading the place and terrifying the family. They also interrogated Abu al-Hasan’s father for more than an hour, and confiscated documents and files. Abu al-Hasan was moved to the Petah Tikva interrogation facility. The  soldiers also detonated the front door of the home of Ahmad al-Beetawy, and invaded the property in the Dahia area, south of Nablus, searched it for more than an hour and kidnapped him.

The foundation said that the soldiers also invaded its office in al-Isra’ building, in the center of Nablus city, and confiscated computers and files after violently searching the property.

via Two Palestinian Human Rights Defenders Kidnapped In Nablus – International Middle East Media Center.