By Natalia Venegas  / GICJ

“Lawyers and the free practice of the legal profession are indispensable to the rule of law, the protection of human rights and an independent judicial system” said Diego García-Sayán, Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers. 

On the 21st of June, the HRC held an Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the protection of lawyers against interference in the free and independent exercise of the legal profession. Lawyers face numerous threats, especially those whose activities revolve around fighting corruption, defending human rights, or protecting vulnerable groups. Individuals who practice law should be able to do so without fear of intimidation, obstruction, harassment, or interference from the state. 

As he presented his report, Mr García-Sayán expressed his gratitude to Bolivia for its cooperation and openness to implementing his suggestions and conclusions. He noted with concern a global increase in practices that limit and restrict the practice of law, especially as a result of measures adopted by states during the Covid-19 pandemic. Additionally, he reported that from 2010 to 2020, over 2,500 lawyers were killed, detained or kidnapped across the globe in an attempt to undermine the profession's independence. 

Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ) strongly condemns all attacks against lawyers defending human rights and fighting corruption. As a pillar of the rule of law and a guarantee of fundamental rights such as due process and freedom, state governments should protect the legal profession and guarantee the independence of the judiciary. We extend our support to the fight for judicial independence and the protection of the legal profession. 

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