Joint letter about risks and challenges for justice and lawyers in Colombia during COVID-19
In a joint letter the Colombian Caravana, Lawyers for Lawyers, Action for Justice, Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, Fundación de la Abogacía Española, Asociación Libre de Abogadas y Abogados, and various individuals have expressed concerns about the risks and challenges for justice and lawyers in Colombia during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the letter, the impact of the pandemic on the situation of lawyers is raised. The signatories describe how the suspension of judicial proceedings, the paralysation of lawyers professional activities, the confinement of lawyers whose lives have been threatened, the constant following and harassment that they experience, among other circumstances, has been worsened due to the current situation that COVID-19.
For example, the suspension of the vast majority of judicial proceedings means that lawyers have been forced into a situation of absolute paralysis of the litigation which is their source of income. Because they are independent, self-employed professionals, they have informed us that they have not had access to the state economic aid offered to workers in other professional sectors, and thus additionally and extraneously have been left without any source of income, putting their livelihoods at risk, both personally and professionally.
The signatories urge the Colombian authorities to among other things take appropriate measures to restore judicial processes, ensure that lawyers can represent their imprisoned clients, investigate how the state could possibly financially support independent lawyers who have lost their income, guarantee the necessary security measures for lawyers and ensure that all lawyers and human rights defenders can carry out their functions without fear of intimidation or harassment against them or their families.
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