IBAHRI marks 30th anniversary of UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers
The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) has launched a number of initiatives to celebrate and support the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers (UN Basic Principles) and the IBA Standards for the Independence of the Legal Profession (IBA Standards). The UN Basic Principles and the IBA Standards constitute landmark instruments recognising the principle of independence of the legal profession as an essential component of a democratic society and the rule of law.
IBAHRI Co-Chair and former Justice of the High Court of Australia (1996 – 2006), the Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG, commented: ‘This double anniversary presents the perfect occasion to think more fully on the importance of lawyers, with respect to protection of human rights, maintaining the rule of law and the functioning of democracy in general. During this milestone year, both the UN Basic Principles and the IBA Standards should receive particular attention and support worldwide. Both instruments emphasise the obligations of states to protect lawyers from any form of attack, harassment or pressure. However, we see that states do not always play a sufficient part in safeguarding lawyers. We urge all states to protect lawyers from any interference from state and non-state actors and take positive and proactive measures to that end. We urge all states to protect lawyers from violence and intimidation from whatever source.’
The primary aim of the UN Basic Principles and the IBA Standards is to assist states in their task of promoting and ensuring the proper role of lawyers. On the occasion of their 30th anniversary, the IBAHRI expresses support for these documents with a number of initiatives, including:
- delivering an oral statement at the 44th UN Human Rights Council session during the dialogue with Mr Diego García-Sayán, the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, highlighting the pivotal role that lawyers play in access to justice;
- the development of a Toolkit for Lawyers at Risk – a collaborative project of the IBAHRI, the Bar Human Rights Committee, Human Rights House Foundation, Lawyers for Lawyers and Lawyers Rights Watch Canada it is designed to facilitate the protection of legal professionals facing attacks in connection to their work;
- circulating a call for action statement urging UN Member States to recognise, uphold and protect the role of lawyers. Issued jointly by the International Bar Association, together with the International Association of Lawyers and the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, the statement has been signed by more than 50 bar associations, law societies and lawyers’ organisations from across the world. It is available in English, French, and Spanish;
- publishing a video featuring representatives of the IBAHRI, Lawyers' Rights Watch Canada, Lawyers for Lawyers, the Bar Human Rights Committee, International Commission of Jurists and Human Rights House Foundation calling on the international community to denounce the growing attacks on independent lawyers worldwide and support their role in upholding free and democratic societies; and
- promoting an educational booklet on The principle of independence of lawyers: UN and IBA reference instruments.
IBAHRI Co-Chair, and immediate past Secretary-General of the Swedish Bar Association, Anne Ramberg, said: ‘Jointly with our professional partners, we call on the international community to denounce the growing attacks on independent lawyers worldwide and support their role in upholding free and democratic societies. We recall that protecting lawyers is at the core of the mandate of any lawyers’ organisation and urge all independent bar associations and law societies to augment their efforts in shielding lawyers persecuted for performing their professional duties. Furthermore, we call for any abuses of power by state authorities that limit access to justice to be confronted. The independence of the legal profession and access to justice are prerequisites to the rule of law and democracy, and should be guaranteed.’
Notes to the Editor
- Download the call for action statement in English, French or Spanish.
- Download The principle of independence of lawyers: UN and IBA reference instruments leaflet.
- Download the oral statement from the 44th UN Human Rights Council session.
- Download the IBA Standards for the Independence of the Legal Profession.
- The International Bar Association (IBA), the global voice of the legal profession, is the foremost organisation for international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. Established in 1947, shortly after the creation of the United Nations, it was born out of the conviction that an organisation made up of the world's bar associations could contribute to global stability and peace through the administration of justice. The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), an autonomous and financially independent entity, works to promote, protect and enforce human rights under a just rule of law, and to preserve the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession worldwide.
For further information please contact:
Romana St. Matthew - Daniel
International Bar Association
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IBA website page link for this news release:
Short link: tinyurl.com/ybf7kpv3
Download The principle of independence of lawyers: UN and IBA reference instruments leaflet:
Short link: tinyurl.com/y96wdobh
Download the oral statement from the 44th UN Human Rights Council session:
Short link: tinyurl.com/y9qxkrcz