Protests take place around the world
Members of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers joined lawyers around the world to protest at Honduran Embassies against the treatment of human rights defenders in Honduras.
The protests, facilitated by organisations connected to our partners the European Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights, and the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, highlight the role of international solidarity in protecting human rights defenders.
Stand up for those who defend human rights in Honduras
The following letter, signed by leading members of the Society, was published in The Guardian on 22 January 2016:
We write to highlight that Friday 22 January 2016 is the Day of the Endangered Lawyer. Lawyers in the UK will be picketing the Honduran embassy to highlight the plight of lawyers and human rights defenders in that country who face violent attacks and human rights violations on a daily basis.
In 2013 there were 29 violent acts against lawyers, of whom nine were injured and 24 died. In 2014 the national commissioner for human rights recorded the death of 11 lawyers. Between 2010 and March 2015 the commissioner recorded 91 deaths of lawyers as a result of targeted killings.
So bad is the situation that both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch in their most recent world reports highlighted the fact that scores of human rights defenders, including indigenous and campesino leaders, LGBTI activists, justice officials and journalists were victims of human rights violations, suffering killings, physical violence, kidnapping, threats, and daily harassment. We cannot let their voices remain unheard.
We believe that lawyers in Honduras should be allowed to perform their professional duties without any intimidation, and that adequate protection needs to be provided by the state, especially when their lives are at risk as a result of the exercise of their profession.
Our aim in picketing on Friday is to highlight the ongoing wave of violence directed at lawyers and human rights defenders in Honduras. Alongside our call for members of the public to protest this Friday, we urge your newspaper to join us in raising awareness, and to support our campaign for the unwavering protection of those who work tirelessly to promote and defend human rights around the world.
Russell Fraser Chair, Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers
Prof Bill Bowring President, ELDH European Association of Lawyers for Democracy & Human Rights
Michael Mansfield QC
Geoffrey Bindman QC
John Hendy QC
Catrin Lewis Barrister, Garden Court chambers
Louise Christian Vice-president, Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers
David Watkinson Barrister (non-practising)
Paul Heron Solicitor, Public Interest Lawyers
Wendy Pettifer Solicitor, Hackney Community Law Centre