On 18 September 2018, Human Rights Now gave an oral statement on the Harassment of Human Rights Lawyers and Activists in China at the 39th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Human rights lawyers, legal assistants, and activists in China continue to face harassment and interference. In the statement we called on the Chinese government to end its crackdown and harassment of human rights lawyers by, among other actions, releasing arbitrarily detained lawyers and activists, revoking their convictions, reversing the revocation of lawyer and law firm licenses, and repealing the regulations permitting them.
The video and the full text of the statement can be accessed below.
The full statement of the statement can be downloaded here.
Thank you, Mr. President.
The ongoing interference and harassment of human rights lawyers and activists in China since 9 July 2015 has affected over 300 human rights lawyers, legal assistants, and activists. On 9 July 2018 it was reported that 14 lawyers have been sentenced, 5 of which are serving their sentence; 1 lawyer remains under residential surveillance; 1 lawyer awaits trial; 25 have had their bail conditions lifted, 11 of which are lawyers; 43 are forbidden to leave the country; and 265 were temporarily detained, forcibly questioned, or summoned.
From October 2017 to July 2018, the government reportedly revoked or invalidated the licenses of at least 16 human rights lawyers and 3 law firms. Two regulations were involved, “Measures on the Administration of Law Firms” and “Measures on the Administration of Lawyers’ Practice”, which allow sanctions based on firms’ political affiliation and lawyers’ speech, respectively.
This situation violates lawyers’ rights to freedom of expression and association guaranteed by UDHR Article 19 and the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China Article 35; and it conflicts with the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers Article 16, which requires governments to ensure lawyers can perform their duties without interference, travel restrictions, or threats of prosecution for their work.
Human Rights Now urges the Chinese government to end its crackdown and harassment of rights lawyers by, among other actions, releasing arbitrarily detained lawyers and activists, revoking their convictions, reversing the revocation of lawyer and law firm licenses, and repealing the regulations permitting them.