Resolución sobre los ataques contra abogados en Colombia – Barcelona, 01.06.19

La Asamblea General de la Federación de Colegios de Abogados de Europa (FBE) celebrada en Barcelona el 1 de junio de 2019 expresó su grave preocupación por el asesinato de Paula Rocero, abogada en Nariño, Colombia, el 20 de mayo de 2019. Rocero recibió protección en 2016 tras varias amenazas por su trabajo en favor de los derechos humanos. Cabe señalar que el camino hacia la paz y la justicia en Colombia necesita un compromiso renovado. La FBE apoya la defensa de los derechos humanos y la necesidad de proteger a jueces, abogados y el Estado de derecho durante la transición hacia la paz.

Resolución sobre el Estado de derecho y la libertad de expresión en Turquía – Barcelona, 01.06.19

La Asamblea General de la Federación de Colegios de Abogados de Europa (FBE) celebrada en Barcelona el 1 de junio de 2019 expresó su apoyo al Estado de derecho y la libertad de expresión en Turquía.

Exigimos la plena protección de la independencia de las profesiones del ámbito jurídico y periodístico en Turquía.

Pedimos que cese la estigmatización de abogados y periodistas y la detención de aquellos que luchan por la libertad, unos procesos judiciales justos, los derechos humanos universales y la libertad de opinión y de expresión.

COLOMBIAN CARAVANA REPORT 2018

On March 25, 2019, a momentous event took place in the building of the Law Society in London. On this day, the Final Report of the Colombian Caravan 2018 mission was submitted.

This event has been honored by many personages. Our Federation (FBE) was represented by the President of the Federation Mr Michele Lucherini who gave a welcome speech.

The discussion panel about Colombian facts was led by the excellent Prof. Sara Chandler. The FBE Human Rights Commission was represented by its President Mr Artur Wierzbicki and its members Mr Donovan Lindsay and Mr Nardy Desloover.

The FBE participated in the 6th delegation of jurists to Colombia with members from Italy and the UK.

The Federation supports the peace process and recognises that this is a hugely important period when the peace process is threatened by those who do not respect the rule of law, nor the defence of human rights. After more than 50 years of conflict we welcomed the Peace Agreement and over the last two years the process that began to develop.

The FBE has supported human rights lawyers in Colombia since 2006 when the Congress of the FBE was addressed by human rights lawyer Reinaldo Villalba Vargas.

The FBE Human Rights Commission has a long term programme of support for human rights defenders who are at risk, and face daily threats, attacks and assassination.

The International Caravana travelled to Colombia in September 2018. 20 experts from six countries focused their visit on the impact that the peace process has had on the work of human rights lawyers and the dynamics of the conflict. The Caravana travelled to six regions, meeting with lawyers, judges, human rights defenders, victims, and state representatives, among others.

Delegates observed that violence against human rights defenders and social movements has escalated and that there has been a worrying paradigm shift in relation to the characteristics of threats and how threats are acted upon, and a proliferation and re-emergence of illegal armed groups.

Human rights lawyers in Colombia are at heightened risk because of their work seeking accountability and defending communities’ fundamental rights. Delegates heard reports of repeated aggressions against them: threats to their lives and their families; break-ins and thefts of sensitive information; disciplinary complaints filed to hinder lawyers’ work; and stigmatisation by public officials unduly linking lawyers to their clients or making accusations of their belonging to illegal armed groups.

Human rights defenders and lawyers also face obstacles when seeking timely and appropriate protection from the state. The state’s approach to protection tends to be reactive rather than preventive and lacks understanding of the context in which lawyers work and how to take specific circumstances of geography, culture, and gender into account when allocating protection measures.

It would be far removed from reality to conclude that Colombia is in a period of post-conflict, let alone at peace.

The International Caravana first travelled to Colombia on the invitation of Colombian human rights lawyers in 2008. Our sixth delegation heralded the Caravana’s tenth anniversary of international professional solidarity in defence of human rights, justice, and rule of law.

A steady constant these past ten years is that lawyers, human rights defenders, and social leaders continue to be threatened and killed for seeking justice and defending marginalised communities. Since the signing of the Peace Agreement in November 2016, hundreds of human rights defenders have been assassinated and the UN has called for decisive action to stem the tide of violence enveloping many regions.

Colombian’s official state Ombudsman has reported that a human rights defender is killed every three days. The country is highly polarised. In 2018, two years after the historic signing of the Peace Agreement between the state and the FARC, the Caravana joined a call for justice, truth, reconciliation and non-repetition. As the international community and colleagues in the legal profession around the world, we ask that the Peace Agreement be more than just paper and that

it lead to transformation and transition for Colombia and security and peace for its lawyers, human rights defenders and citizens; a peace which all Colombians deserve.

 

PARTICIPANTS:

Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, México: Massimiliano Buriassi, Francesco Christian Di Nardo, Valeria Verdolini,  Wout Albers, Ron Rosenhart, Carles McCragh Pujà, Gemma Sunyer, Fabian Dreher, Rebecca Chalk, Sara Chandler QC (Hon), Jeffrey Forrest, Charlotte Gill, James Lupton, Christabel McCooey, Natasha Morgan, Lee Pearman, Rachel Rushby, Louise Williams, Sue Willman

 

 Artur Wierzbicki

President of the FBE Human Rights Commission

FBE International Law Firm of the Future Competition 2019

On the 12th of April 2019, the international FBE Law firm of the future competition came to an exciting final in Wroclaw, Poland.

Eleven finalists from Poland, Turkey, Bulgaria, The Netherlands and Spain gave a Power Point presentation with their vision on the law firm of the future.

The competition was open to young lawyers and law students. Every competitor or team had to submit a Power Point presentation with a view to the future.

Rumyana Yordanova and Gabriela Hristova from the international law firm Penkov Markov from Sofia were the winners.

Ankara, 16.04.2019

A delegation of the FBE Presidency (Loew, Lucherini, Kaofhold, Wierzbicki) went to Ankara to meet the representative of the National Bar Council (UTBA), Ankara and Istanbul Bar to discuss with them, getting directly news about the processes against Lawyers and set the strategy in according with the Turkish lawyers.

It has been held a special meeting with the Turkish colleagues to organise the best initiatives.

Resolution in favour of Maître Nasrin SOTOUDEH – Hammamet, 30.03.19

The European Bars Federation and the Ordre National des Avocats de Tunisie in their meeting of the the Mediterranean Assises, held in Hammamet on 29-30 March 2019,
 
Have unanimously adopted the following resolution

 

The European Bars Federation and the Ordre National des Avocats de Tunis want to:

• Express their maximum solidarity with the lawyer Nasrín Sotoudeh,
winner of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Conscience of the European Parliament in 2012, who has assumed the defence of notorious personalities such as the Nobel Prize of Peace 2013 Shirín Ebadí or of the opponents arrested during the protests of the Green Movement of 2009.

• Recognise the work of people or institutions that have stood out for their merits or relevant services in favour of the rule of law and human rights protection.

• Express their deep concern about the situation of human rights defenders and lawyers in Iran, who are frequently subjected to arbitrary detention and other forms of harassment, as well as the growing social exclusion of the Iranian Bar Association, to the detriment of legal assistance and a fair trial.

• Urge to all States to comply with the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, adopted at the Eight United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, held in Havana (Cuba) on August/September 1990, asking for an effective protection for all lawyers, permitting them to continue with their legitimate and peaceful activities
in defence of human rights without fear of intimidation, harassment, reprisals and the loss of their own lives.

• Express their firm commitment to support all those initiatives promoted in any country in the world for the protection and safeguarding of the exercise of the right of defence that corresponds to lawyers in a State governed by the rule of law, guarantee of the rights and freedom of citizens.

“Law and justice in the European common home” – Roma, 15th March 2019

FBE’s President, Lucherini, took part in the Congress organized by UIF at the Valdese University of Rome on the theme “Law and justice in the European common home”, with a report on the function and competences of European lawyers and the support of the FBE for protection of fundamental rights. Link to listen and see the speech: https://www.radioradicale.it/scheda/568554/legge-e-giustizia-nella-casa-comune-europea?fbclid=IwAR3huERiU0P-rk7tOLm1GJ2e1LQbIkQqkEndUToDfayMKYc1vxid7ggn9Pk&i=3963368 

47 European Presidents Conference – Wien, 28.02-02.03 2019

FBE took part at the 47 European Presidents Conference 2019 in WIEN about the defense of the state and the rule of law. 28th February – 2nd March 2019.

The European Conference of Presidents has become a forum for dialogue in which the elected representatives of European lawyers’ organizations exchange experiences. The “informal principle” of the European Conference of Presidents with a friendly supporting program has proved its worth for more than a quarter of a century in uninterrupted continuity.

In addition to the traditional supporting program – with events in the Palais Pallavicini we have to mention the workshop in the Palais Ferstel which is the focus of the Viennese Advokatengespräche.

FBE presented a special Magazine containing a report of the 2018 activities (see attached).