The global migration is in place. Lots of people migrating to Europe are facing hard conditions on their way there but also after they manage to arrive on European territory. Basic human rights, such as equal access to justice of migrants are often not respected even in developed democratic countries nowadays.
Without any ambition to address the issue from the political point of view, AIJA notices with unease the signs of possible erosion of basic democratic principles and rule of law. At the same time, it is up to the lawyers to be the guardians of rule of law and equal access to justice. If we lawyers give up on this role or if we do not act now, the role of law and access to justice will be seriously endangered for everyone.
As stressed already by Declaration on Migration of CCBE from 26 June 2015, regardless of the present difficulties undoubtedly faced by many states, it is important to reiterate certain fundamental principles, such as defence of the rule of law and the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms including the right of access to justice and protection of the client and the protection of the democratic values inextricably associated with such rights. These fundamental principles of the rule of law and the protection of fundamental rights must always prevail over any political, economic or security consideration.
AIJA identifies fully with the CCBE declaration and feels a duty to support this initiative, especially in the light of the recently adopted resolution of the United Nations on Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, setting 17 goals to fulfil. AIJA would like to specifically stress sub-goal 16.3: Promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all.
Therefore, in order to prevent erosion of the above mentioned fundamental principles, AIJA would like to invite each lawyer, and especially young ones, to make personal efforts to start fulfilling goal 16.3 already today. Specifically, AIJA would like to encourage lawyers to:
- read the mentioned CCBE declaration and UN resolution;
- accept pro bono cases of refugees who may be in need of legal aid, especially those in detention or other hard conditions;
- offer services to local or international NGO´s dealing with pro bono legal aid or with defence of rule of law or equal access to justice;
- spread the information on the above-mentioned CCBE declaration and UN resolution among all lawyers.
- contact the local bar associations to spread a similar call to this one.
Brussels, 27 January 2016  Conseil des barreaux européens / Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe, published, The second declaration on migration, 26/06/2015  United Nations Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 25 September 2015