ALHR Supports our Chinese Colleagues

July 20, 2014

ALHR has written to the Chinese Ministry of Justice and All-China Lawyers Association raising concerns about the increasing harassment of lawyers in China.

ALHR has called for the release of lawyers in detention and that the Chinese Government ensure protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments to which China is bound including:

    1. guaranteeing in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of lawyers and human rights defenders in China;
    2. carrying out a thorough, impartial and transparent investigation into the arbitrary arrest, intimidation and detention of lawyers in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before a competent and impartial tribunal and apply to them the sanctions provided by the law;
    3. ending any act(s) of harassment against lawyers and specifically human rights lawyers or other human rights defenders in China, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their legitimate activities without any hindrance and fear of reprisals;
    4. conforming with the General Assembly resolutions on the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and to the annual resolutions of the Commission on Human Rights to implement that Declaration and to cooperate with and assist the Special Rapporteur; and
    5. conforming with the internationally recognised and accepted norms of human rights as contained in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights including:
      1. Article 1, which provides that everyone has the right to promote and champion the protection of human rights; and
      2. Article 12, which provide that every State must take necessary steps via competent authorities to ensure the protection of everyone against intimidation and violence.

Absent the ability of lawyers to represent clients free of fear of reprisals, the rule of law is unlikely to materialise and mature in China. Without an independent judicial system and the prospect of legal decisions made on the basis of the law, rather than party or state interests, a wide variety of diplomatic, commercial, and social issues in China will remain insoluble and continue to affect security and stability within the Asia-Pacific Region.