Lawyers Criticise Colombia

News from Colombia | on: Saturday, 30 August 2008

An international group of lawyers visiting Colombia on a fact-finding mission have harshly criticised the authorities for limiting access to justice, stigmatising legal professionals and allowing impunity to flourish by turning a blind eye to human rights abuses. The group of over 50 lawyers, who are due to produce a formal report of their visit, also claimed that there was no "rule of law" in Colombia.

"The simple act of practicing law is perceived as a subversion action, because many of our colleagues have suffered harassment and even death threats," said Canadian lawyer Denis L'Anglais who was representing the group Lawyers without Borders on the trip. He added that some 125 lawyers had been murdered in Colombia in the past decade making it one of the most dangerous countries in the world to be a lawyer.

Sara Chandler, who represented the Law Society of England and Wales on the delegation, added "The minimum requirements of international standards of protection and independence of the legal profession are not being met here. Without these minimum requirements there is no rule or law."

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