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Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers
June 15, 2016

Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers and the Independent Expert on International Solidarity

 UN Human Rights Council – 32nd Session – June 15, 2016

 The United States thanks the Special Rapporteur for her report, reviewing her mandate and the legal framework.  These are the types of situations that we hope she will address.

 The United States is deeply troubled about Venezuela’s arbitrary use of the judicial system to silence and punish government critics.  The guarantee of a fair and public trial before an independent and impartial tribunal is consistent with Article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Venezuela’s own democratic historical traditions.  We urge the government to allow political prisoners equal justice before the law and ensure that the judiciary functions as an unbiased arbiter.

 We are deeply concerned by the Egyptian government’s decision to reopen a politically motivated investigation of non-governmental organizations documenting human rights abuses and defending the freedoms enshrined in the country’s constitution.  Restrictions on the space for civil society activity will produce neither the stability nor security that we both seek.

 In China, we remain concerned about the ongoing detention and arrests of rights activists, lawyers and their colleagues.  In many cases, detainees have not been granted access to legal counsel.  Furthermore, defense attorneys remain increasingly vulnerable to prosecution for performing their professional duties.   Lawyers taking on sensitive cases face physical intimidation while traveling to see detained clients, gathering evidence, or speaking with the media.  We urge the government to allow lawyers to vigorously defend their clients free from unwarranted interference by government and judicial authorities.