WHAT IS THE DAY OF THE ENDANGERED LAWYER?
Ever since lawyers Symone Gaasbeek-Wielinga and Hans Gaasbeek went onto a fact finding mission in the Philippines in 1990 (lawyers are being intimidated, threatened and even murdered because they aide their clients in politically sensitive cases) they have been active for their threatened colleagues all across the world. This is an international effort put together with like-minded colleagues. The first ever Day of the Endangered Lawyer was organized in 2010.
The purpose of the Day of the Endangered Lawyer is a call for attention on that day to threatened human rights lawyers with special attention to one designated country.
The course of action is to draw a centralized petition in as many cities as possible, in and across Europe’s borders, which will be offered to ambassadors, consulates and other bodies of authority. The petition will call for attention to the problematic situation of endangered lawyers in that country. Another aim is to engage in a dialogue with the representatives. Furthermore, forum discussions are being organized with local fellow lawyers.
2020: FOCUS ON PAKISTAN
The tenth annual Day of the Endangered Lawyer, on January 24th, 2020, will focus on Pakistan. Over the past several years lawyers in Pakistan have been subjected to acts of mass terrorism, murder, attempted murder, assaults, (death) threats, contempt proceedings, harassment and intimidation in the execution of their professional duties. They have also been arrested, detained or tortured, and in some cases the family members of murdered lawyers have also been murdered.
Some lawyers have been threatened with disbarment or had their homes raided by the police. Sometimes christian lawyers or members of minority sects have been assaulted or threatened with death.
The most notorious attack on Pakistani lawyers occurred on August 8, 2016 when terrorists attacked the Government Hospital of Quetta with a suicide bombing and shooting which resulted in the death of 54 lawyers. See link here.
Since then there has been an alarming increase in the number of lawyers murdered, with nine reported over the past year.
Four organisations (IAPL, AED, ELDH and the Foundation Day of the Endangered Lawyer) are working close together again to prepare the next day, with full support from the coalition of lawyer organizations and BAR associations as founded this year in Brussels and a large number of other lawyers and BAR associations from all over the world.
The most recent step was the publication of a basic report about the present situation of the lawyers in Pakistan. In this basic report the situation of a number of lawyers is highlighted, in general the most serious cases. Most of the contents for this document were delivered by Pakistani lawyers as well as lawyer and BAR associations which are involved and specialised in the situation in Pakistan.