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The Day of the Endangered Lawyer

Egypt: Rule of Law on the Brink of Collapse

January 24th once again marks ‘The Day of the Endangered Lawyer’. This is a day to reflect upon the troubles faced by lawyers in jurisdictions around the world who are faced with harassment, persecution, injury, and even death all while working to safeguard the rights of the vulnerable.

For 2018, the focus will be upon the challenges faced by the legal community in Egypt. Activists and lawyers in Egypt routinely have to endure smear campaigns, tapped phones, and hate speech from media as well as harassment and intimidation from authorities. Harsh restrictions against freedom of expression, assembly, and association have been put in place following the overthrow of Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi in 2013. Dissidents are dealt with harshly, with tens of thousands being arbitrarily arrested and even tortured.

Human Rights Watch, Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, and the Law Society of Ontario have put together a special event to honour our legal colleagues in Egypt, and to call upon the authorities to respect the rights of the Egyptian community to practice law free from “intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference,” to ensure personal and professional safety, and to remedy violations committed against them.

Featured at the event will be a conversation between Farida Deif, the Canada Director of Human Rights Watch, and an Egyptian human rights lawyer currently in Canada. A reception will follow.

Due to widespread interest in this program, capacity has been reached. To have your name added to the waiting list to attend, follow this link to register. Protests and events are being held across the world to mark this day, so have a look and see what’s going on in your region so that you can get involved.

For more information on the history of the Day of the Endangered lawyer, check out their website for information on campaigns both past and present, as well as information on how you can become a friend of this movement.