SOS Avocats - The Lawyers Emergency Defence Committee
In 1986, AIJA created the Lawyers’ Emergency Defence Committee the tasks of which are today held by the Human Rights Committee and who's funds are nowadays "SOS Avocats". SOS Avocats is funded by donations, and the Human Rights Committee encourages AIJA-members to collect and contribute to SOS Avocats through events, activities, collections and other ways to collect donations. The aim of SOS Avocats is to support initiatives and activities both of members or other organisations to protect the right of every lawyer to practice his or her profession freely and the entitlement of every individual to legal representation and a fair trial and the protection of the rule of law. The Human Rights Committee may decide, on account of SOS Avocats, to:
- support investigations and, if necessary and appropriate, intercede or support intercessions on behalf of lawyers whose right to practice freely is threatened or compromised in contravention of the law or internationally accepted standards;
- intercede or support intercessions where persons are denied access to legal representation of their choice and will assist in procuring a fair trial for those denied this fundamental right;
- send or support observers to attend individual trials or investigate complaints of mistreatment or initiatives which comply with the purpose of SOS Avocats;
- produce reports and recommendations for changes in national law or administrative practice; and
- formulate and revise standards of professional conduct and independence as well as procedural rules.
AIJA and the Human Rights Committee do not engage in any political activity and will not involve itself in issues of a political nature, nor will it intercede on behalf of lawyers prosecuted for political activities other than in circumstances where their own rights to a fair trial or legal representation are in jeopardy. When implementing the above, the Human Rights Committee normally cooperates and, in particular, for the requisite fact finding in connection with alleged violations, will consult with other organizations or associations of lawyers, such as ILAC. It represents AIJA in such organisations and associations and will thrive to support their activities, be it by personal input, nomination of delegates for missions, contributions to workshops or financial contributions.
You can make donations to the work of the Human Rights Committee (with the reference to SOS Avocats) when you pay your membership fees, register for an AIJA event or if you decide to buy an official #aijaruns4humanrights t-shirt. Your support in this respect is very much appreciated!