International Day of the Endangered Lawyer, 24 January 2023 – in solidarity with the endangered lawyers in Afghanistan

Since 2010, the International Day of the Endangered Lawyer has been observed on 24 January in cities, countries, and continents around the globe.

This date was chosen as the annual International Day of the Endangered Lawyer because on 24 January 1977, four lawyers and a co-worker were murdered at their address at Calle Atocha 55 in Madrid, an event that came to be known as the Massacre of Atocha.

Each year, the International Day is organised by the Coalition for the Endangered Lawyer, a network of national and international organisations and bar associations.

The purpose of this International Day is to draw the attention of government officials, international institutions, civil society, the media and the general public to the plight of lawyers in a particular focus country, to raise awareness about the threats the lawyers in that country face in the exercise of their profession.

In previous years, the Day has been dedicated to countries including Colombia (2022 and 2014), Azerbaijan (2021), Pakistan (2020), Turkey (2019 and 2012), Egypt (2018), China (2017), Honduras (2016), the Philippines (2015), Basque Country/Spain (2013)[1], and Iran (2010).

This year, the International Day of the Endangered Lawyer focusses on Afghanistan. As set forth below, the situation confronting Afghan lawyers today is extremely dire. This report first outlines the applicable legal framework, highlighting the United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers. Next, the report describes the situation of the justice system and the Bar in Afghanistan. It then illustrates the situation of lawyers and legal professionals through profiles of a number of individuals at risk. It also underscores the responsibility of other States regarding the calls for help coming from the Afghan lawyers. Finally, the report makes demands and recommendations in order to improve the situation of Afghan lawyers in Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world.[2]

Download report (English)

Download report (Turkish)

[1] CCBE, UIA-IROL, l’Ordre français des avocats du barreau de Bruxelles and l’Institut des Droits de l’homme du Barreau de Bruxelles did not support the Day in 2013 when it focused on Spain/the Basque Country. The signing of this report does not change in anyway their position on this issue

[2] As the name of the International Day of the Endangered Lawyer connotes, the observance of the annual occasion historically has focussed solely on the situation of lawyers. In light of the unique circumstances prevailing in Afghanistan, however, this year’s report also includes certain references to Afghan prosecutors and judges, who generally face the same risks and challenges that Afghan lawyers face – and in some respects are at even greater risks.