January 23, 2020

Statement of ABA President Judy Perry Martinez Re: International Day of the Endangered Lawyer

WASHINGTON, Jan. 23, 2020 – Tomorrow, the American Bar Association marks the 10th anniversary of the International Day of the Endangered Lawyer. The day recognizes the lawyers and legal professionals who ensure that governments around the world honor the rule of law and fundamental principles of human rights in their countries.

The international legal community in the past year has documented a variety of attacks on independent lawyers and legal professionals who are working to promote the rule of law and the basic rights of the most vulnerable members of their societies in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Turkey, Poland and elsewhere. The U.N. Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers establishes that lawyers are entitled to practice their profession without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference. Yet these legal professionals have faced threats, retaliatory disciplinary proceedings, frivolous criminal charges and surveillance.

The ABA confirms its commitment to the U.N. Principles and calls on all legal professionals to support the brave prosecutors, judges and lawyers who dedicate themselves at great personal cost to defending human rights around the world.