Tomorrow is the 10th Day of the Endangered Lawyer. I practice law – and I assume many of my readers do – in a country that upholds the Rule of Law. My practice of law is not subject to state intervention; if I represent clients opposite to and take action against our own government and state institutions, this does not create any professional or personal risk.
In that comfortable position, one tends to forget that by far not all lawyers enjoy the same privilege. Many of them practice in very challenging circumstances, often at great personal risk and sacrifice. The Dutch foundation “Dag Bedreigde Advocaat“ is the driving force behind this commemorative day, and many bar organisations, amongst them the German Bar Association (Deutscher Anwaltsverein), are organizing activities to bring the situation of these lawyers to the attention of a broader public. The German Bar Association, for the third year running, collaborates with amnesty international and this year focusses on the situation of lawyers in Turkey and Iran. The Berlin Bar (Rechtsanwaltskammer Berlin) is joining the international protest against the government of Pakistan, including a demonstration at the Pakistani embassy in Berlin.
The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute is marking the day with the launch of a Toolkit on Lawyers at Risk. Developed in partnership with the Bar Human Rights Committee, Human Rights House Foundation, Lawyers for Lawyers and Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, the Toolkit is aimed at facilitating the efforts of those seeking to protect lawyers who are attacked for performing their professional duties and representing their clients’ interests.