IBAHRI launches ‘Toolkit on Lawyers at Risk’ to advance the protection of lawyers

Friday 24 January 2020

On 24 January, to mark the Day of the Endangered Lawyer, the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) is launching a toolkit to facilitate the protection of lawyers at risk of persecution for carrying out their professional duties. The Toolkit on Lawyers at Risk is the result of a collaborative project between the IBAHRI, the Bar Human Rights Committee, Human Rights House Foundation, Lawyers for Lawyers and Lawyers Rights Watch Canada. The launch event also marks the start of the commemorative year of the 30th Anniversary of the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers and the IBA Standards for the Independence of the Legal Profession. The Toolkit launch will take place at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, 120B rue de Lausanne, Villa Moynier, Geneva, Switzerland.

IBAHRI Director, Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, commented: ‘Since its foundation 25 years ago, the IBAHRI has striven to advance the protection of lawyers and promote the independence of the judiciary across the globe. Lawyers play an instrumental role in upholding the rule of law, ensuring access to justice and that human rights are respected. Too often, the safety and security of lawyers are compromised simply because they are dedicated to performing their professional functions. I urge lawyers at risk, or potentially at risk, to arm themselves with knowledge from this Toolkit to combat unfair treatment.’

In addition to strengthening the protection of lawyers and providing practical guidance for those seeking to protect lawyers who may come under attack during the course of their work, the Toolkit aims more specifically to:

  • enhance the capacity of lawyers’ to use international human rights norms and recommendations;
  • raise lawyers’ awareness about risks attached to the practice of law and the need to develop a security plan;
  • provide information for lawyers, and those exercising lawyer’s functions, on how to engage with relevant human rights mechanisms to ensure their professional independence and personal and professional safety; and
  • support joint actions among organisations that support lawyers.

A directory of organisations and a Legal Digest will also be published alongside the Toolkit.

Anne Ramberg Dr jur hc, IBAHRI Co-Chair, said: ‘While states should ensure the independence of the legal profession and protect it from undue attacks, this Toolkit will empower lawyers to take matters into their own hands. Thirty years have passed since the adoption of the IBA Standards for the Independence of the Legal Profession, and the launch of this Toolkit is a fitting way to honour this and renew our commitment to human rights lawyers across the world.’

The launch event will be held at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, 120B rue de Lausanne, Villa Moynier, Geneva, Switzerland on Friday 24 January 2020 from 1200 – 1400. The event is free but reservations are required. Contact Jurate Guzeviciute at jurate.guzeviciute@int-bar.org to register.


Notes to the Editor

  1. Click here to access the Toolkit on Lawyers at Risk.
  2. Click here for more information on the launch event being held at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights on Friday 24 January.
  3. 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.
  4. The Bar Human Rights Committee (BHRC) is the independent, international human rights arm of the Bar of England and Wales. The BHRC’s mission is to protect and promote international human rights through the rule of law, by using the international human rights law expertise of the United Kingdom’s most experienced and talented human rights barristers.
  5. The Human Rights House Foundation is an international human rights organisation which protects, empowers, and supports human rights defenders and their organisations, and unites them in an international network of Human Rights Houses.
  6. Lawyers for Lawyers promotes and protects the independence of the legal profession by supporting lawyers worldwide who, in the exercise of their profession, face reprisals, improper government interference or unnecessary restrictions.
  7. Lawyers Rights Watch Canada (LRWC) is a committee of Canadian lawyers who promote human rights and the rule of law by providing support internationally to human rights defenders in danger. LRWC promotes the implementation and enforcement of international standards designed to protect the independence and security of human rights defenders around the world.

For further information please contact:

Romana St. Matthew - Daniel
Press Office
International Bar Association
4th Floor, 10 St Bride Street,
London EC4A 4AD

Mobile: +44 (0)7940 731 915
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Email: romana.daniel@int-bar.org
Website: www.ibanet.org

IBAHRI website page link for this news release:
Short link: tinyurl.com/uhomv99