Challenging the Oppression of Lawyers in Times of Conflict


Queen’s University Belfast Human Rights Centre, School of Law, will host a one day conference in November called Challenging the Oppression of Lawyers in Times of Conflict, which will tackle questions about the causes of oppression of lawyers in conflict and post-conflict scenarios, and what protections can be provided. Lawyers-in-Conflict-Poster3

Aims of the conference:

“In times of conflict it is common for severe oppression to infiltrate every aspect of life as a result of both State and non-State actors’ actions. Those in a position to challenge the oppressors, such as lawyers, are often subjected to systematic discrimination and violence during times of conflict. Such oppression deprives lawyers of their fundamental rights.

The aim of this one day conference is to bring together academics, activists, grass-roots expert, legal professionals and students to learn from each other and ignite debate on the issues that lawyers face during time of conflict, the impact of these issues from a human rights perspective and potential ways to address these issues. It seeks to engage a holistic approach that draws from conflict experiences across the globe which at are at various stages in their progression towards peace. As such this conference will bring together experts who have experience in countries which have seen lawyers become specific targets of oppression. Primarily the Basque country, China, Colombia, Northern Ireland, Palestine, Russia, Turkey and South Africa.

The objective of this conference is to tackle five questions:

1)      How are lawyers oppressed? What is the driving force behind the oppression?

2)      What support are oppressed lawyers provided with, if any? Do Law Societies and other official bodies provide assistance?

3)      What role can domestic/regional domestic judicial bodies play in protecting lawyers in these countries? Have they taken action? Has this action been successful?

4)      How could lawyers be better protected? Are there things that could be improved within the current system? Or does the current system require a radical change?

5)      Are the changes suggested specific to a particular jurisdiction? Or are there common issues that lawyers in conflict are facing globally, which could be addressed with similar improvements?”

The conference will feature prominent speakers, including

Keynote Speaker: Richard Harvey (ICTY)
Basque Country: Iratxe Urizar (Basque Lawyer with Behatokia)
China: Dr Ting Xu (QUB) and Dr Wei Gong (Judge)
Columbia: Professor Sara Chandler (Columbian Caravana UK Lawyers)
Northern Ireland: Professor Kieran McEvoy (QUB)
Palestine: Andrea Becker (Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights UK)
Russia: Professor Philip Leach (Middlesex University London)
South Africa: Judge Essa Moosa (Judge)
Turkey: Deniz Arbet Nejbir (Kurdish Lawyer)

Venue: The Great Hall, Lanyon Building, Main Campus, Queen’s University Belfast, University Road, Belfast BT7 1NN

All details about the conference can be found on the dedicated website

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