We use cookies to collect and analyse information on site performance and usage to improve and customise your experience, where applicable. View our Cookies Policy. Click Accept and continue to use our website or Manage to review and update your preferences.

IBAHRI joins call for China action on lawyers
Pic: Shutterstock

15 Dec 2023 / rule of law Print

IBAHRI joins call for China action on lawyers

The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) has joined with a number of other campaign groups to express concern about what they describe as “widespread violations” of the rights of lawyers by the authorities in China and Hong Kong.

They have called on China to take “urgent action” to ensure respect for human rights and observe the rule of law.

The statement was issued by the IBAHRI, The 29 Principles, Hong Kong Watch, The Rights Practice, Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, Lawyers for Lawyers, Free Tibet, and Tibetan Community in Britain.

‘Independence undermined’

The groups said that they were “gravely concerned” by reports of arbitrary detention, illegitimate criminal prosecution, unfair trials, enforced disappearance, torture, and other inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

“In China, the legislative and regulatory framework governing the professional duties of lawyers and law firms systematically undermines their independence and represses activities perceived to support political dissent,” the organisations stated.

They expressed concern that lawyers had been punished “for simply conducting their professional services”.

Call to respect UN principles

The groups added that such actions also had “a particular impact” on individuals and groups who faced widespread discrimination within China – including the Uyghur and Tibetan communities.

“Interference with the legal profession has led to individuals from these communities being denied access to a lawyer, or the opportunity to prepare an adequate defence, leading to arbitrary detention, unfair trials, torture and other rights violations,” the groups stated.

They also expressed concern about what they describe as “the repressive use” of the National Security Law (NSL) in Hong Kong.

Among other actions, the groups have called on China to respect the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, and to “immediately and unconditionally release” lawyers and other individuals who had been “arbitrarily detained and sentenced following unfair trials”.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland