Date: 21 September 2015
HRC Section: Agenda Item 4 General Debate
Speaker: Ms. Vani Selvarajah
Joint Oral Statement to the 30th Session of the UN Human Rights Council Regular Session
by Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, Lawyers for Lawyers and the Asian Legal Resource
Centre, NGOs with Special Consultative Status
China: Crackdown on lawyers and other advocates violates international law obligations.
Lawyers Rights Watch Canada, Lawyers for Lawyers and the Asian Legal Resource Centre call on Council to address the ongoing wrongful arrests and detentions in China of lawyers engaged in human rights work. .
Since the beginning of July over 284 human rights lawyers, their staff and family members have been unlawfully arrested in a country-wide campaign to close down any advocacy likely to expose or halt human right abuses by the Government of China. Many of the victims remain arbitrarily and unlawfully detained: some have been disappeared. The arrest, detention and treatment of the victims contravene the rights guaranteed by and the state duties imposed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
In carrying out unlawful reprisals against lawyers and their associates, China is also violating, and making a mockery of, its duty as a member of Council to “uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights.”
We ask Council to request:
- China to locate those disappeared and immediately release all lawyers, staff, family members and lay advocates detained since 9 July.
- China to allow an investigatory visit by the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers;
- the High Commissioner for Human Rights to publically report on the situation of human rights lawyers in China as soon as possible, and to present a written report at the thirty- first session of the Human Rights Council, followed by an interactive dialogue.