The hearing highlighted that every day lawyers are harassed, threatened, prosecuted, imprisoned or even murdered, simply for carrying out their professional activities. In recent years, these attacks have intensified around the world, including in Europe.
The hearing, specifically dedicated to attacks against the legal profession, was held today by the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI) in Brussels. The hearing highlighted the different types of persecution perpetrated against lawyers, drawing on examples from countries where lawyers are victims of human rights violations. This worrying trend has recently led the Council of Europe to work on a proposal for a European Convention on the profession of lawyer. Organisers say further reflection is needed on possible new initiatives at European level and multilaterally in order to improve the situation.
An attack on justice
In this increasingly worrying context, the CCBE stressed the need for strong initiatives from the European Union to support lawyers who work every day to protect human rights. Because, through each attack targeting a lawyer, it is the fundamental rights of all people that are impacted. During the hearing, the chair of the subcommittee on human rights, MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri, said ‘any attack on lawyers or on the legal profession is an attack on justice and on the basic principles of the Rule of Law.’ To mark this event, the CCBE published a brochure on threats to the legal profession, which is available here. The recording of the event is available here on the Parliament’s website.