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’.
By: Felix Manig
On International Day of Peace 2016, we reiterate our welcoming of the recent signature of the peace agreement between the Colombian Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). It represents a fundamental step towards ending more than 50 years of armed conflict which left eight million victims.
On this International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances PBI recognises the challenges that victims of enforced disappearances face and celebrates their victories in achieving justice.
Well, my work on human rights began more or less at the side of Father Uvi. I was his vicar from 1994, and I was trained to become a promoter of human rights during the process that Barca [the “Bartolome Carrasco Briseño” Regional Centre for Human Rights"] started in the southern highlands in response to the dire social situation there…
I have been a member of the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers' Collective (CCAJAR) for 18 years, and I manage penal and national litigation, primarily criminal defence and the representation of victims of serious human rights violations.
The context of this work is quite difficult, above all because of the persecution directed against human rights defenders, and especially human rights lawyers in Colombia. Attacks which come from the state and the highest levels of government. In fact, the former president Alvaro Uribe Vélez, during his eight years in power, was very effective in persecuting human rights defenders and human rights in general.