DAY OF THE ENDANGERED LAWYER – 24 January 2020 – PAKISTAN

    

 

Preparations are now well underway for the Day of the Endangered Lawyer (DOTEL) on Pakistan for January 24, 2020. At a preparatory meeting about 16 to 20 participants representing the Foundation of the Endangered Lawyers Day, AED, International Association of Peoples Lawyers, ELDH, CCBE, CBE, Institut des Droit de l’Homme, several Bar Associations, Avocats sans frontiers, Law Society, CNB have decided to dedicate the Day of the Endangered Lawyer to the solidarity with endangered lawyers in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, since our Brussels meeting our Pakistani colleagues continue to face chronic danger and a risk of serious harm.  They continue to be subjected to acts of violence, and very recently a lawyer was seriously assaulted by a judge during a trial, which led to a local strike (“Black Day”) of lawyers lasting at least a week: https://defendlawyers.wordpress.com/2019/07/10/pakistan-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-lawyers-strike-continues-for-sixth-consecutive-day/   At the national level there have been a number of strikes by lawyers, especially in solidarity with two judges who have been under attack by Pakistan President Arif Alvi.  The latest national strike organized by the Pakistan Bar Council was held on July 13th:   https://defendlawyers.wordpress.com/2019/07/10/pakistan-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-pbc-gives-call-for-countrywide-strike-on-july-13/  Invidual lawyers, like high-profile lawyer Saif-ul-Malook who represented Asia Bibi (the famous woman who was on death row for blasphemy), continue to face a high risk of death or physical harm: https://defendlawyers.wordpress.com/2019/06/23/pakistan-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-the-pakistani-lawyer-putting-his-life-on-the-line/.

Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC) reports that they will  invite the Canadian Human Rights Museum in Winnipeg to host and finance an event on January 24th and to bring one or two lawyers from Pakistan. LRWC has started a paper on Pakistan focused on two needs: to effectively prevent and punish the murder of lawyers through protective measure and proper investigations, prosecutions and trials and second to develop pan Pakistan education to promote religious diversity and tolerance. They will also invite the Law Society of Ontario to hold an event.  As well, at the beginning of July the G7 Bars Meeting was held in France, with representatives of the Bars of France, Canada, Germany, USA, Japan, England & Wales and Italy, representing 1.8 million lawyers.  They adopted 20 proposals to G7 governments, including one: “Commit to support actions marking the Day of the Endangered Lawyer and to encourage other countries to do likewise.”  The New Zealand Law Society has the honour of publishing the first article about DOTEL 2020, which they did in mid-July: https://defendlawyers.wordpress.com/2019/07/18/pakistan-new-zealand-pakistan-the-focus-of-2020-day-of-endangered-lawyer/