New Zealand Law Society - Lawyers mark Day of the Endangered Lawyer

Lawyers mark Day of the Endangered Lawyer

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The New Zealand Law Society has expressed its support for lawyers around the world who risk harassment, persecution and injury or death in their work.

Friday 22 January is being marked internationally as the Day of the Endangered Lawyer.

New Zealand Law Society President Chris Moore says New Zealand is highly ranked for its adherence to the rule of law and institutions which uphold human rights.

"An important part of this is the ability to criticise aspects of the justice system, to advocate for change, and for lawyers to represent their clients without fear of arrest or violence. Sadly this is not so for members of the legal profession in some other parts of the world," he says.

Mr Moore says lawyers in countries such as Saudi Arabia, China, Honduras, Egypt and the Philippines experienced persecution and imprisonment from the authorities in 2015 because they were defending human rights.

"A number of lawyers were murdered last year while standing up for the rights of their clients. On 28 November 2015 Tahir Elçi, President of a Turkish Bar Association was shot and killed straight after a press conference to highlight human rights violations.

"The New Zealand Law Society applauds and salutes the courage of lawyers around the world who continue to represent people and to speak out in the face of oppression."

Mr Moore says the focus of the Day of the Endangered Lawyer this year is on lawyers in Honduras, where 34 lawyers have died in violent circumstances between 2013 and March 2015.