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Lord Neuberger and Baroness Helena Kennedy QC support Amal Clooney’s resignation

Friday 18 September 2020

Statement by Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury and Baroness Helena Kennedy QC in support of Amal Clooney's resignation as UK Special Envoy on Media Freedom

The High Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom is an independent body that was convened at the request of the UK and Canadian governments. The Panel comprises a diverse group of lawyers, academics and judges from around the world with expertise in international human rights law. The Chair of the Panel is Lord Neuberger, former President of the UK Supreme Court. Panel members have been selected and appointed by him. The Deputy Chair is Amal Clooney. The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute acts as Secretariat to the Panel.

High Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom

The High Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom – names appear below

The Panel’s mandate is to (1) propose initiatives that can be taken by governments to ensure existing international obligations relating to media freedom are upheld, (2) to disseminate elements for model legislation to promote and protect a vibrant free press, and (3) to report on means of raising the cost to those who target journalists for their work.

Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury, Chair of the High-Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom, has stated that:

‘I agree with what Ms Clooney says in her letter of 18 September to the Foreign Secretary. I support her principled response to the shameful attitude of the UK government to its international treaty obligations in the Internal Markets Bill and in ministerial announcements that it is prepared to break international law. Ms Clooney’s deputy chairmanship of the High Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom is quite distinct from her role as the UK’s Media Freedom Envoy, and I look forward to continuing to work with her and the other distinguished members of the Panel in carrying out its important functions. Journalists who are persecuted, imprisoned and even murdered for their work deserve all the help that they can get, including through legal reforms by governments that follow the Panel’s advice. It is in the interest of freedom of expression and the rule of law that they get such help’.

Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, Director of the International Bar Association Human Rights Institute, Secretariat to the High-Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom, has stated that:

‘I fully endorse the statements made in Ms Clooney’s letter of resignation and respect her decision to stand down as Envoy while maintaining her role on the Panel. Members of the Panel are appointed on an unpaid basis as a result of their relevant expertise and the Panel should complete its current mandate’.

ENDS

Notes to the Editor

  1. Members of the High Level Panel

    Seated left to right:

    • Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, IBAHRI Director
    • Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury, Chair of the High Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom
    • Ms Amal Clooney, Barrister Doughty Street Chambers, Deputy Chair of the High Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom
    • Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, UK Minister for Human Rights (not a member of the High Level Panel)
    • Baroness Francoise Tulkens, Former Vice-President of the European Court of Human Rights

    Standing left to right:

    • Professor Kyung-Sin Park, Korea University School of Law and a co-founder and Director of Open Net Korea
    • Ms Galina Arapova, Director and senior media lawyer at Mass Media Defence Centre in Russia
    • Professor Dario Milo, Partner Webber Wentzel and Adjunct Professor University of the Witwatersrand
    • Professor Can Yeginsu, Barrister 4 New Square Chambers, Professor Columbia Law School, Georgetown Law and Koç University Law School
    • Ms Catherine Anite, human rights lawyer and the Founding Director of the Freedom of Expression Hub in Uganda
    • Mr Nadim Houry, lawyer and Executive Director of the Arab Reform Initiative
    • The Honourable Irwin Cotler, PC, OC, OQ, Former Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of Canada and Professor of Law at McGill University
    • Judge Robert D Sack, senior judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Professor Columbia Law School
  2. The High Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom is an independent body that was convened at the request of the United Kingdom and Canadian governments to advise governments on ways to prevent and reverse abuses of media freedom, as well as ensuring existing international obligations relating to the freedom of expression are upheld. The High Level Panel comprises a diverse group of leading lawyers from around the world. The Chair is Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury and the Deputy Chair is Amal Clooney. The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute acts as Secretariat to the Panel, for more information about their work, visit here.
  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.
  4. 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.

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