A lawyer in Britain can represent an individual or group challenging public institutions or powerful interests without feeling personally at risk. Sadly, the same is not the case everywhere.

Lawyers in some countries are regularly subjected to threats to themselves or their families, are physically attacked and even abducted and forcibly "disappeared" simply for doing their jobs. In Colombia alone, as many as 25 lawyers may be killed each year. [1]

With around 80 volunteer international observers Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Kenya and Nepal, PBI provides unarmed protection for lawyers and other human rights defenders working on legal cases by accompanying them on the ground and setting up networks of support through its diplomatic and international connections.

Lawyers in the United Kingdom can also play a crucial role in supporting these lawyers. 

PBI UK works closely with the Alliance for Lawyers at Risk, which was launched on 10 November 2010. This network of UK legal practioners volunteers their time to support and develop links between the UK legal community and threatened human rights defenders around the world. In October 2017 the Alliance was re-launched at a prestigious event at Law firm Simmons and Simmons.

Read about some of the lawyers PBI protects.

Case studies

[1] The American Association of Jurists and Avocats Sans Frontières Quebec, Informe sobre la situación de los abogados en Colombia [Report on the situation of lawyers in Colombia], 10 December 2007