The 24th of January marks the annual International Day of the Endangered Lawyer. This day is a call to bring attention to the situation of lawyers from all around the world, who have been harassed, silenced, pressured, threatened, persecuted, tortured, as well as murdered and often disappear. The reason for such brutal treatment is simply being committed to their professional obligations and helping those in need.
Why the 24th of January? The date has been chosen as a memorial day towards four trade union lawyers and a co-worker, who were killed on 24 January 1977 in their office in Madrid for only doing their job.
The Day of the Endangered Lawyer has been founded in 2009, while its first edition was organised in 2010. Since then, the Day of the Endangered Lawyer focused on the situation and threats to lawyers in such countries as Honduras, Egypt, Turkey, China, Pakistan and Azerbaijan. The year 2022 brings attention to the situation of Colombian lawyers for the second time.
The Observatoire International des Avocats en Danger (OIAD) recently issued the report on Colombia illustrating threats that lawyers there have to face every day. The report lists the number of concrete cases of lawyers and human rights organisations, which were prosecuted for actions taken towards defending human rights in the past years. In order to defend the Colombian human rights lawyers in this report 10 demands and recommendations have been set, among others calling the Colombian state to:
- comply with the United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers
- urgently address the many attacks on human rights lawyers and guarantee their free and independent exercise of their professions, in accordance with Principles 16 and 18 of the U.N. Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers
- conduct impartial, independent, and effective investigations into, and, where appropriate, seek prosecutions of the perpetrators of, crimes against human rights lawyers, to bring an end to impunity.
This year, AIJA has joined the coalition in recognising the Day of the Endangered Lawyer along with other 27 organisations.
To learn more about the Day of the Endangered Lawyer, please visit the website here.
To find out more about the situation in Colombia, please read the full report here.