THE ADVOCATE V O L . 7 5 P A R T 3 M A Y 2 0 1 7 397 NEWS FROM LAWYERS’ RIGHTS WATCH CANADA By David F. Sutherland, Q.C.* WHO DEFENDS THE DEFENDERS?—A B.C. GROUP IS WORKING ON IT Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (“LRWC”) is an international human rights organization headquartered in B.C. LRWC is predicated on the belief that where and whenever a lawyer, other advocate or judge (i.e., a human rights defender) is attacked for doing his or her job, there is a human rights problem and reason for concern for the rule of law. In Canada and in B.C. in particular, we take the rule of law for granted and, with few and limited exceptions, enjoy its benefits. LRWC is a vehicle for advocating for those benefits worldwide. LRWC members work pro bono to defend defenders worldwide through engaging in advocacy, producing legal research and providing education. Although small in terms of its member base (under 300), LRWC has grown to have an important and respected voice globally. Individually or in groups, LRWC members take on problems or issues, perhaps as a country monitor or in answer to an internal email seeking volunteers on an issue of concern. Much of LRWC’s work starts with writing letters to state authorities and international monitoring bodies. We try to make our letters a source of information about the applicable international law and the remedies required for the identified violation(s). LRWC also provides written communications, including complaints and reports, to the human rights systems of both the United Nations (“UN”) and the Organization of American States (“OAS”). The reports that LRWC provides include shadow reports to UN treaty monitoring bodies such as the Human Rights Committee, the Committee against Torture and the Commit- * David F. Sutherland, Q.C., is a Vancouver-based lawyer who works in the area of civil litigation, with a special interest in freedom of speech. He is also a director of Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada.
May Advocate 2017
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