New Zealand Law Society - Treatment of lawyers in China of deep concern to LAWASIA

Treatment of lawyers in China of deep concern to LAWASIA

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The Law Association for Asia and the Pacific (LAWASIA) says it is compelled to express its deep concern regarding the reported treatment of lawyers in the People's Republic of China.

The New Zealand Law Society is a member of LAWASIA.

A LAWASIA statement says the organisation previously stated its concern in July 2015, when it was widely reported that a large number of lawyers involved in human rights cases had been arrested, detained or otherwise harassed by the authority of the Chinese government.

"As we approach the second anniversary of these incidents, it appears there has been no progress in the treatment of lawyers working on human rights or other public interest cases in China," it says.

"The United Nations Committee Against Torture has indicated that some of those arrested during the incidents of July 2015 have since been subjected to torture or other forms of cruel or inhuman treatment during their detention

"Further reports, available in the public domain, suggest that those prosecuted have been denied the right to access or retain defence counsel of their choice, as well as the right to a fair and public hearing by an impartial tribunal.

"Such treatment by the law enforcement authorities and judiciary of China would be in violation of the core human rights treaties and universal human rights instruments of the United Nations, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) (ICCPR) to which China is signatory."

LAWASIA has called upon the government of China to observe its obligations under international human rights law, to ensure that those prosecuted are afforded their proper rights to access the assistance of a lawyer of their choice and a fair and public hearing by an impartial tribunal, and to ensure that lawyers in China are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference.

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