New Zealand Law Society - Lawyers battling for justice around the world

Lawyers battling for justice around the world

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Human rights awards

The International Rescue Committee and its President and CEO, David Miliband, have been announced as the 2019 recipient of the 11th Stockholm Human Rights Award. The award is jointly made by the Swedish Bar Association, the International Bar Association (IBA) and the International Legal Assistance Consortium to an individual and/or organisation for outstanding contributions to human rights and the rule of law. David Miliband oversees relief operations in more than 40 war-affected countries and refugee resettlement programmes in 28 cities in the United States.

The 2019 IBA Award for Outstanding Contribution by a Legal Practitioner to Human Rights has been won jointly by Martin Lee SC and Margaret Ng. Both are Hong Kong-based lawyers and the IBA says both have demonstrated tireless dedication to the protection of human rights and the pursuit of justice.

Mr Lee was called to the Hong Kong Bar in 1966 and became the Founding Chairman of the United Democrats of Hong Kong party. He served on the Drafting Committee for Hong Kong’s Basic Law. He openly criticised the Chinese government’s role in the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, and more recently has spoken out against the Hong Kong extradition law.

Dr Ng was called to the Hong Kong Bar in 1988 and was a founding member of the Basic Law Article 23 Concern Group. Dr Ng continues to fight against restrictions of civil liberties in Hong Kong as a member of the renamed Basic Law Article 45 Concern Group.

The 2019 IBA Pro Bono Award has been won by Malaysian lawyer Cecil Rajendra. In 1980 Mr Rajendra and his associates set up the first rural legal aid clinic in Malaysia and he launched the country’s first mobile legal aid clinic in 2000. He has been a leading campaigner for human rights and is also a prominent poet, with his poems published in over 50 countries.

Pakistan focus of 2020 Day of Endangered Lawyer

The tenth annual Day of the Endangered Lawyer will focus on Pakistan, on 24 January 2020. The Day of the Endangered Lawyer foundation is based in the Netherlands. It has developed a wide range of activities around the world on 24 January to raise awareness of lawyers who are being harassed, silenced, pressured, threatened, persecuted, tortured and murdered for their work as lawyers.

Information released by the organisers says that over the past several years lawyers in Pakistan have been subjected to acts of mass terrorism, murder, attempted murder, assaults, death threats, contempt proceedings, harassment and intimidation in the execution of their professional duties.

Philippine Government urged to act on lawyer deaths

The Netherlands-based Lawyers for Lawyers organisation has urged Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte to act to stop attacks against and extra-judicial killings of lawyers. Lawyers for Lawyers says at least 45 lawyers, prosecutors and retired judges have been killed in the Philippines since President Duterte took office in July 2016.

In a letter to the President, the organisation says it is deeply concerned about the increasing attacks against lawyers, the labelling of lawyers as an “enemy of the State”, and the oppressive working environment they face since the start of his administration.

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