International Association of People's Lawyers

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  Dissent Special Issue - Defending Lawyers

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Support FOR Honduras lawyers and the Day of the Endangered Lawyers

22 January 2016

EndangeredLawyersLawyers around the world are being put in danger, their capacity to fulfill their legal duties threatened by states and other forces. This is especially true of those involved in human rights cases. Lawyers have suffered attacks such as killings, abductions, detention, surveilance, loss of license to practice and many forms of intimidation and harassment. These attacks on lawyers demonstrate how rule of law systems, and discourses, have proved to be precarious and selective. Ironically, they have been attacked for defending the rule of law, for defending the same principles announced by the systems that attack them.

Many organizations of civil society have risen to struggle for social justice and defended the lawyers, and called upon governments and international institutions to protect the lawyers as international law requires them to do.

Lawyers around the world are being put in danger, their capacity to fulfill their legal duties threatened by states and other forces. This is especially true of those involved in human rights cases. Lawyers have suffered attacks such as killings, abductions, detention, surveilance, loss of license to practice and many forms of intimidation and harassment. These attacks on lawyers demonstrate how rule of law systems, and discourses, have proved to be precarious and selective. Ironically, they have been attacked for defending the rule of law, for defending the same principles announced by the systems that attack them.

Many organizations of civil society have risen to struggle for social justice and defended the lawyers, and called upon governments and international institutions to protect the lawyers as international law requires them to do.

Concerned lawyers organizations in Europe have estabilished an annual Day of the Endangered Lawyer. In 2015, it was dedicated to Philippine lawyers. This year it is dedicated to Honduran lawyers.

The political and social situation in Honduras was aggravated by the U.S. backed coup d’etat in 2009, and the society has been governed in the interests of private groups and organized crime organizations associated to the state. In a society wracked by corruption and violence, the National Comissioner of Human Rights (CONADEH) reports that, between 2010 and March 2015, 89 lawyers were killed by violence.

The IAPL Monitoring Committee on Attacks on Lawyers has published updates, reports and made academic presentations on hundreds of cases of attacks on legal professionals worldwide. Cases like the ongoing widespread crackdown on human rights lawyers in China and the persecution of lawyers defending Kurdish people have been featured on the IAPL blog: https:// defendlawyers.wordpress.com

The Day of Endangered Lawyer will be marked this January 22nd, with a main rally and conference in The Hague (The Netherlands), and actions in other countries, as well as petitions to the Honduras government and embassies worldwide.

We believe that international solidarity and the union of progressive and democratic individuals and organizations worldwide, together with the local initiatives of civil society, are powerful instruments to achieve social justice and to allow lawyers to perform their professional and citizens’ duties without fear of repression.

For more information see:

http://www.eldh.eu/events/event/internatioinal-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-22-january-2016-235/

https://defendlawyers.wordpress.com/

http://dayoftheendangeredlawyer.eu/

Signed:
The Board of Directors, IAPL