International Observatory for Lawyers draws attention to situation of CCAJAR lawyer Sebastián Escobar Uribe

Published by Brent Patterson on

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The Paris-based International Observatory for Lawyers (OIAD) has highlighted the case of José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective (CCAJAR) lawyer Sebastián Escobar Uribe.

The Peace Brigades International-Colombia Project accompanies CCAJAR.

The OIAD explains: “CCAJAR has actively participated in the documentation of crimes involving state actors to be presented through reports. …Sebastián Escobar Uribe is one of the CCAJAR lawyers who has participated in the documentation of extrajudicial executions known publicly as ‘false positives’ [the extrajudicial executions of thousands of individuals falsely presented by the military as combat kills].”

OIAD then notes the Colombian weekly newsmagazine Semana report that last year the activities of more than 130 people including lawyers (notably CCAJAR), journalists, judges, human rights defenders and officials, were subjected to the surveillance of the Colombian military using computer tools and software.

“Given this information, the OIAD recalls that the independence of lawyers is one of the main indicators of democratic health and consolidation of the rule of law.”

It also noted: “The United Nations Principles for the Role of Lawyers, and in particular Principles 16 and 17, which establish: ‘Governments shall ensure that lawyers are able to carry out all their professional duties without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or undue interference [and] When the safety of lawyers is threatened as a result of the exercise of their functions, they will receive adequate protection from the authorities.’”

On June 8, the OIAD sent a letter to Colombian president Iván Duque expressing support for CCAJAR and Sebastián Escobar along with with six requests including:

“Adopt the necessary measures so that all illegal espionage and surveillance work against the José Alvear Restrepo Collective and the group of affected people and organizations immediately cease;”

“Publicly acknowledge the work carried out by individuals and groups that, like lawyer Sebastián Escobar and CCAJAR, contribute decisively and within the framework of legality to build a more just and democratic society;”

To read the full post from the OIAD, please click here.

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