Joint submission SR/IJL regarding report HRC
Lawyers for Lawyers, The 29 Principles, Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), the Paris Bar Association, Human Rights Now, the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales, and China Change have sent a joint submission on the situation of lawyers in the People’s Republic of China and Hong Kong to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers regarding his forthcoming report to the United Nations Human Rights Council.
In the submission it is highlighted that lawyers in China have been facing various kinds of harassment for their human rights work, including disbarment, illegitimate criminal prosecution, arbitrary detention (in some serious cases also subjected to incommunicado detention and torture and other ill-treatment), and denial of access to their clients or access to lawyers of one’s own choosing once detained. Also, lawyers in China are all registered with the semi-official All-China Lawyers Association and their legal practice licenses are controlled by the judicial authorities who manage their annual registration. Human rights lawyers are often targeted by the authorities suspended and disbarred due to their human rights work.
In Hong Kong, after the National Security Law was imposed by the central government of China in June 2020, lawyers in Hong Kong have felt increasing pressure from authorities. Lawyers express frustration of experiencing more difficulty with helping their clients to apply for bail in national security cases as judges are not required to disclose their reasons for granting bail or not in accordance with Hong Kong laws. Legal aid for some cases, especially on national security cases, has been reportedly excluded for some lawyers as the government has proposed that legal aid will be given to cases handled by government-appointed lawyers.
All abovementioned issues are illustrated by cases of individual lawyers in the report. In the report we have also made a number of recommendations to the People’s Republic of China to better protect and guarantee the free exercise of the legal profession.
The joint submission can be read here.
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