We are deeply saddened to hear the news of the passing of Sir Nigel Rodley KBE, a Patron of PBI UK and a great supporter.
24 January 2017 marked the seventh Day of the Endangered Lawyer. While this year’s focus will be on China, we also want to take this day as an opportunity to highlight the situation for lawyers in the countries where PBI works.
Lawyers challenging those responsible for human rights violations pay an extremely high price - they may have their work obstructed, be followed, watched, harassed, subjected to spurious prosecutions, killed or ‘forcibly disappeared’.
PBI Guatemala condemns the cruel murder of Evelyn Robles, a trans activist found dead on November 18 . Evelyn Robles was accompanied by PBI between 2006 and 2009, due to the threats she faced after having witnessed the extrajudicial execution of Paulina Marrot, another trans activist, in January 2006. Evelyn Robles had identified agents of the National Civil Police as being the authors of this crime, during which she herself was seriously injured. To this day, the murder of Paulina continues in impunity.
The Day of the Endangered Lawyer 2016 highlights situation of risk for lawyers in Honduras
On Friday 22 January protests will take place outside Honduran Embassies and Consulates across Europe in solidarity with Honduran lawyers and human rights activists who are threatened, attacked and killed as a result of their work to defend the rule of law and uphold international human rights.
Lawyer Jorge Molano has taken on high-profile cases against very powerful people in his home country of Colombia. Unfortunately, powerful Colombian criminals often resort to extreme measures to escape justice and both Jorge Molano and people close to him have received death threats due to his human rights work.
One of the cases where Jorge is seeking justice is for the massacre committed against the San José de Apartadó Peace Community in February 2005, when paramilitaries on patrol with soldiers of the 17th Brigade of the Colombian army murdered five adults and three children. The quest for justice has been particularly difficult due to the steps taken to cover up the crimes.
Soon after the massacre was committed, demobilised soldiers of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) claimed that the FARC were responsible for the massacre. The top commander of the Colombian armed forces even used a military map to show that no regular soldiers were in the region where the massacre took place.  It later emerged that a colonel had paid the FARC soldiers to lie  and that the maps shown by the commander had been altered beforehand. Six of the paramilitaries involved in the massacre have since been murdered, leaving few witnesses who could tell the truth about what happened.
Guatemala’s former head of state, General Efraín Ríos Montt, has gone on trial for genocide.
He is accused of overseeing the killing of at least 1,771 indigenous Ixil Mayans in multiple massacres that took place in the department of Quiché while he was in power from 1982 to 1983. This is the first trial of a head of state for genocide to take place in a Latin American court.
In August 2008, a delegation of over 100 jurists from Europe, North America and Latin America, arrived in Bogotá in an unprecedented display of solidarity.