VENEZUELA: Human rights lawyer Venus Faddoul has been publicly accused, threatened and harassed for her work
COLOMBIA: Lawyer Carlos Enrique Maldonado, victim of serious and worrying stigmatisation for defending peasant communities affected by the armed conflict
IRAN: The OIAD, together with other lawyers’ associations, takes action in favour of Iranian lawyers and denounces the situation at the United Nations.
On 24th November, on the occasion of the Special Session of the UN Human Rights Council on the deteriorating human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran, a joint statement by lawyers’ associations, including the OIAD, was distributed by lawyers in robe at the “place des nations” in Geneva. The statement was also delivered to the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers. This joint statement has been issued to help secure immediate, coordinated, multi-sectoral action on legal independence in Iran to guarantee lawyers practice their profession without fear of repression or persecution The Observatory, together with the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute, the Union Internationale des Avocats, Lawyers Rights Watch Canada, ASF Suisse, and Lawyers for Lawyers call on the Islamic Republic of Iran and its agencies to protect, promote, and support the following basic rights: 1) the independence of the legal profession; 2) the principle of lawyer-client confidentiality; 3) the right to have access to a legal representative; 4) the right to prepare a defence. The joint statement signed by the above organisations reflects our alarm over state repression of protests and the practices established by the regime that restrict and violate the independence […]
TURKEY: Press release on the observation mission to the trial of the assassination of Barrister Tahir Elçi
On 15 June 2022, a delegation from OIAD, the Geneva Bar Association and secretaries of the Paris Bar Conference attended the 5th hearing of the defendants in the Barrister Tahir Elçi assassination case. Tahi Elçi was elected as the President of the Diyarbakir Bar Association in 2012 and had been working with national, international and non-governmental organisations especially on the the Kurdish resolution process (peace process) in Turkey and promoting the rights of the people in the Kurdish region, mainly in Diyarbakır. On 28 November 2015, Tahir Elçi was shot dead while holding a press conference he had organised at the “four-legged minaret” in Diyarbakır to denounce the serious human rights violations committed during the curfews in Cizre, Sur, Silopi and Nusaybin, and to make a public appeal for the protection of cultural property and heritage during the conflict. In September 2021, Ahmet Davutoğlu, former Prime Minister stated regarding the causes of Tahir Elçi’s death: “This is an assassination plot against Tahir Elçi. The target is clear, it is Turkey. The second possibility is that, following the terrorists’ attack, our police officers fired shots in order to protect the population there and Tahir Elçi was caught in the crossfire. There […]
COLOMBIA: Letter to Colombian authorities on the risk situation of lawyer Luz Romero Villalba and the Association COLEMAD
The Observatory, together with the International Caravan of Jurists, Lawyers for Lawyers, Lawyers Rights Watch Canada and Global Justice Association, has informed the Colombian authorities of its concern about information received regarding the situation of Luz Estella Romero Villalba and the rest of the members of the Asociación Colectivo Mujeres al Derecho (ASOCOLEMAD or Collective Association of Women in Law), composed of lawyers and human rights defenders in their country. In the communication, the OIAD and the other organisations have urged the Colombian institutions and authorities to: Take all necessary measures to guarantee the safety and physical and psychological integrity of those who make up ASCOLEMAD, within the framework of protection programs and international standards; Guarantee, under all circumstances, that human rights defence lawyers in Colombia can carry out their activities in defence of human rights without fear of reprisals and without restrictions and with respect for the United Nations Basic Principles of the Role of Lawyers, signed in Havana in 1990. Likewise, in particular, we have urged the Office of the Attorney General to observe due diligence and guarantee the rights to due process, defence, access to justice and the right to information in the investigation of the reported […]
COLOMBIA: Press Release of the VII International Caravana of Lawyers
Bogotá, 26 August 2022 – The VII International Caravana of Lawyers has travelled to the regions of Cali, Bucaramanga, Cartagena and Cúcuta where, by listening, observing and gathering the testimonies of victims of human rights violations and their relatives, their legal representatives, the judiciary and institutions, it has reached these preliminary findings. One starting point is the concern about the lack of implementation of the Peace Accord, the continuity of the armed conflict, as well as the serious and increasing levels of violence perpetrated by illegal armed actors involved in drug trafficking and other criminal activities in the regions. Other key elements of the complex current situation include the high and rising levels of poverty and unmet basic needs of the communities, as well as the conflicts surrounding access to water, land and the presence of extractive projects that threaten water and other natural resources. The Caravana is deeply concerned about serious threats to the rule of law that limit access to justice, the repression of political participation and social protest, and the lack of security guarantees for those carrying out vital human rights work in Colombia. Repression and criminalisation of political participation and social protest: The Caravana is concerned […]
AFGHANISTAN: Press release of the Observatory
CONSEQUENCES FOR THE LEGAL PROFESSION ONE YEAR AFTER THE FALL OF KABUL The precipitous fall of Kabul to the Taliban on 15 August 2021 and the re-establishment of the Taliban government put an end to 20 years of social development and rule of law building. This has resulted in the flight of thousands of people from Afghanistan, including many lawyers, judges and prosecutors. Many of them are now in Pakistan, Iran or the United Arab Emirates waiting to find a host country. Their living conditions are particularly difficult and the waiting times for their visa applications to be processed are getting longer and longer. One of the first decisions of the new Taliban Ministry of Justice was to require all Afghan lawyers to obtain a licence issued by the Ministry in order to continue practising. On 23 November 2021, a group of armed Taliban took control of the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association (AIBA) on behalf of the government. This gave the Taliban access to the AIBA’s database, which includes detailed personal information on lawyers’ families and clients, putting these lawyers at serious risk of retaliation. The International Observatory for Lawyers in Danger (OIAD for its French acronym) is launching a […]
Contact the observatory
Procedure to evaluate cases.
When the observatory is informed of the situation of a lawyer at risk, it proceeds to verify the information it receives and to evaluate the context surrounding the case.
The Observatory’s team verifies the nature of the case that has been reported to check whether it falls under its sphere of competence/mandate and attempts to ascertain the veracity of the allegations received.
The Observatory has consolidated an extensive network of contacts with international and regional bodies, civil society organizations, diplomatic representations and bar associations. This network enables it to gather information pertinent to the lawyers’ general situation and that of specific cases.
The Observatory attempts to establish contact with the lawyer in order to understand his or her needs and circumstances in order to organize the appropriate kind of support that can effectively respond to the defense and protection strategy adopted.
Having completed the process of verification and information gathering, the case Evaluation Group performs an overall assessment of the situation, determines the degree of severity of the case, and issues recommendations on the type of action to be taken to procure counsel and effective support.
The verification and assessment process is performed within a limited amount of time in order to address the grave situations requiring urgent action.
Once the Evaluation Group has presented its recommendations, the Observatory proceeds to take action in accordance with these recommendations and in coordination with the lawyer in question and his or her surroundings.
No action is ever taken without the express consent of the lawyer in question.
WHAT IS THE OBSERVATORY FOR ?
Established in 2010 in the framework of the EU funded project “Lawyers serving lawyers”, the Observatory was re-established in 2015.
The Observatory’s basic aim is to uphold the right to practice law freely and totally independently, and to denounce situations where the right to legal counsel is at risk.
The observatory’s work covers warnings, support in the field and training.