Human Rights Committee
Defence of the defenders
Human Rights Award
Every day, lawyers are harassed, threatened, prosecuted, imprisoned or even murdered, simply for carrying out their professional activities. In recent years, these attacks have intensified around the world, including in Europe. On 19 February 2019, a hearing specifically dedicated to attacks against the legal profession was held by the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI) in Brussels. The hearing highlighted the different types of persecution perpetrated against lawyers, drawing on examples from countries where lawyers are victims of human rights violations. This event also provided an opportunity to present and evaluate the European Union’s existing tools to assist lawyers and, more generally, human rights defenders around the world. The brochure opposite was published to mark this hearing.
The tenth annual Day of the Endangered Lawyer, on January 24, 2020, focuses this year on Pakistan. Over the past several years lawyers in Pakistan have been subjected to acts of mass terrorism, murder, attempted murder, assaults, (death) threats, contempt proceedings, harassment and intimidation in the execution of their professional duties. They have also been arrested, detained or tortured, and in some cases the family members of murdered lawyers have also been murdered. As every year the CCBE supports the initiative with this petition in support of lawyers in Pakistan.
Every year since 2007, the CCBE has granted a Human Rights Award. The objective of the CCBE is to honour distinguished lawyers/lawyers’ organisations that have demonstrated outstanding commitment and sacrifice to uphold fundamental values. It is an effective and useful tool to raise awareness of the core values of the legal profession. The Award is officially delivered to the winner by the CCBE President at the Plenary Session.
At its Plenary Session in Brussels on 29 November, the CCBE granted its 2019 Human Rights Award to Iranian lawyers Nasrin Sotoudeh, Abdolfattah Soltani, Mohammad Najafi and Amirsalar Davoudi for their courage, determination and commitment to defending human rights in Iran - where all forms of opposition, be it ideological or political, are not tolerated.
Given the situation of these four lawyers who are currently detained in Iran, three of them accepted that Ms. Shirin Ebadi, 2003 Peace Nobel Prize, receive the Award symbolically in their name.