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Defending the defenders: International Human Rights Day

8 December 2017

Lawyers are the front line when it comes to defending international human rights and they are under attack around the world for the role they play, the Law Society of England and Wales said ahead of International Human Rights Day on 10 December 2017.

"Some of the most effective and unflinching human rights champions are members of the global legal community,” Law Society president Joe Egan said.

“Yet in many countries around the world, including the UK, lawyers are hindered in carrying out their professional duties because of the cases they work on or the clients they represent. In many places their lives are at risk – even lost – for defending the human rights of others.

“It is our duty to speak out clearly whenever we see this happening and we will continue to do so without fear or favour.

"Threats to the independence of the legal profession undermine the rule of law and impede access to justice for all, especially the most vulnerable."

The Law Society promotes and defends human rights in the UK and internationally. The Society challenges threats to judicial independence and speaks out for lawyers at risk, so they can continue to protect the most vulnerable and uphold the rule of law.

Joe Egan concluded: "Respect for human rights is integral to the rule of law. These principles strengthen and protect societies and economies around the world."

Notes to editors

View the Law Society's work on human rights

About the Law Society

The Law Society is the independent professional body that works globally to support and represent solicitors, promoting the highest professional standards, the public interest and the rule of law. 

Press office contact: Harriet Beaumont | | +44 (0)20 7320 5830