On Monday 18 February and Tuesday 19 February, the Subcommittee on Human Rights held its monthly meeting at the European Parliament. Many issues were addressed during these two days, such as a presentation of a study on misuse of Interpol’s red notices and impact on human rights, an exchange of views on the case of jailed Iranian environmental activists, a hearing on attacks on the legal profession and lawyers defending human rights, and an exchange of views on the human rights situation in the Arab Peninsula.
Pier Antonio Panzeri, Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights, has expressed concern over the persistent infringements of human rights in Middle East. He has reiterated the commitment of the DROI Committee to continue raising these issues in the sphere of action of the European Union.
Among the participants there were José de Freitas, President of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) and Patrick Henry, Chair of the CCBE Human Rights Committee who both delivered a speech on the attacks against human rights lawyers. Mr. de Freitas asserted that “every attack to a lawyer means attacking justice”, while Mr. Henry pointed out that “lawyers must be defended, they are the guarantors of humanity.”
In light of these observations, they called upon the European Union to follow more vigorously these cases. In support of this, Richard Sedillot, a lawyer and one of the founders of the Observatoire International des Avocats (OIAD), stated that “international organisations have to protect lawyers”, speaking of the abuses undergone by lawyers in Turkey.
The European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR) welcomes the meeting of the Subcommittee on Human Rights. We are happy to acknowledge that the European Parliament has tackled human rights issues in the Middle East. We welcome the discussion on misuse of Interpol’s red notice and the debate on the attacks on the legal profession and lawyers defending human rights In this regard, we remind the recent story of Bahraini footballer Hakeem al-Araibi, and the case of the Bahraini lawyer Isa Faraj Al Bou Rashid. We share concern over the continuous human rights violations that occur throughout the region, and we call upon the European Union to continue monitoring these cases and cooperating with the Middle Eastern countries.