About LRWC

Pakistani police officers beat lawyers with batons during an anti-government rally in Lahore, Pakistan, Monday, March 12, 2007. Lawyers boycotted court proceedings, clashed with riot police, and burned an image of Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf in a countrywide protest against the ouster of the country's top judge. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)

“Those of us who practice law in safe environments such as Canada owe a duty to those who risk not only their freedom but also their lives in order to protect their clients’ rights.”

Gail Davidson, LRWC Founder

 

 


Lawyers Rights Watch Canada (LRWC)
is a committee of Canadian lawyers who promote human rights and the rule of law by providing support internationally to human rights defenders in danger. LRWC promotes the implementation and enforcement of international standards designed to protect the independence and security of human rights defenders around the world. In its work, LRWC:

  • Campaigns for lawyers whose rights, freedoms or independence are threatened as a result of their human rights advocacy;
  • Produces legal analyses of national and international laws and standards relevant to human rights abuses against lawyers and other human rights defenders; and
  • Works in cooperation with other human rights organizations.

Around the world, lawyers and others who defend human rights are often singled out as targets of repression, much of which is perpetrated by governments or government-controlled agencies. Criminal offences against human rights defenders occur with alarming frequency. In addition, authorities use existing laws and legal procedures to prosecute or otherwise intimidate advocates representing unpopular clients or causes, often in violation of international standards. Methods used to silence intimidate or punish advocates are often illegal pursuant to the law of the state itself.

LRWC seeks to identify illegal actions against advocates, campaign for the cessation of such actions, and lobby for the implementation of effective immediate and long-term remedies.

LRWC was incorporated as a non-profit society on June 8, 2000 and Lawyers’ Rights Watch (Legal Research) Canada – LRW(LR)C – was incorporated January 2, 2002, pursuant to the provisions of the Canada Corporations Act. LRWC is run by volunteers and funded solely by membership fees and donations from individuals.  Donations are gratefully accepted.

 

LAWYERS RIGHTS WATCH CANADA

STATEMENT OF PURPOSE – CONSTITUTION

  • To provide support internationally to lawyers and other human rights defenders whose right, freedoms or independence are threatened as a result of their human rights advocacy;
  • To promote and protect the rights of lawyers and other human rights defenders to engage in independent advocacy;
  • To preserve and enhance the rule of law;
  • To encourage governments and other institutions to respect fair trial rights including the rights of lawyers to engage in independent advocacy;
  • To encourage ratification, implementation and enforcement of international human rights treaties that impact on legal advocacy rights, the integrity of legal systems and fair trial rights;
  • To encourage constitutional and legislative amendments necessary for conformity with international human rights standards relevant to lawyers, judges and human rights defenders, the integrity of legal systems and fair trial rights;
  • To provide research, education and public legal analyses with respect to the above;
  • To work with other human rights organizations to achieve these purposes.

 

LAWYERS RIGHTS WATCH (LEGAL RESEACH) CANADA

STATEMENT OF PURPOSE – CONSTITUTION

  • To do legal research on jurisprudence, national laws and international laws and standards related to the integrity of legal systems and the right of lawyers and other human rights defenders to engage in independent advocacy;
  • To make such research available to the public;
  • To provide public legal education on the above topics.

Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations

LRWC was granted Special Consultative Status by the Economic and Social Council – ECOSOC of the United Nations on 21 July 2005.

The United Nations Committee on Non-Government Organizations, composed of representatives of 19 member states, recommended LRWC for this status on 18 May 2005. Special Consultative Status is granted to Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) that “have a special competence in, and are concerned specifically with, only a few of the fields of activity covered by the ECOSOC”.

NGO participation is now seen as essential for the success of most major United Nations meetings and events. NGOs with General Consultative Status, Special Consultative Status and on the Roster, that express their wish to attend the relevant international conferences convened by the United Nations and the meetings of the preparatory bodies of the said conferences shall as a rule be accredited for participation.

NGOs with General or Special Consultative Status have a political relationship with ECOSOC and have rights and obligations. The rights and privileges of LRWC as an NGO with Special Consultative Status, as enumerated in ECOSOC resolution 1996/31, entitle LRWC to:

  • Designate official representatives to the United Nations – to the United National Headquarters in New York and the United Nations in Geneva and Vienna;
  • Make a contribution to the work programs and goals of the United Nations by serving as technical experts, advisers and consultants to governments and Secretariat;
  • Espouse UN themes and to implement plans of action, programs and declarations adopted by the United Nations;
  • Participate in ECOSOC and its various subsidiary bodies through attendance at meetings, and through presenting oral interventions and written statements on agenda items of these bodies;
  • Attend international conferences called by the UN General Assembly special sessions and other intergovernmental bodies (the participation modalities for NGOs are governed by the rules of procedure of those bodies);
  • Circulate statements of a maximum of 500 words at ECOSOC meetings; and
  • Circulate statements of a maximum of 1,500 words at meetings of ECOSOC subsidiary bodies.
LRWC is obliged to submit a quadrennial report on their UN-related work for review by the ECOSOC Committee on NGOs.

 

Board of Directors (May 2016 – April 2017)

 

Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada

Marjorie Cohn
Gail Davidson
Julius Grey
Andrew Guaglio
Leo McGrady Q.C.
Heather Neun
David F. Sutherland
Dr. Grace Woo

Lawyers’ Rights Watch (Legal Research) Canada

Siobhan Airey
Clive Ansley
Lois Leslie
Gavin Magrath
Margaret (Peggy) Stanier
Vani Selvarajah
Brian Samuels
Maureen Webb

 

Officers (May 2016 – April 2017)

 

Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada

David F. Sutherland – Chair
Clive AnsleyVice Chair
Carolyn McCool – Secretary

Lawyers’ Rights Watch (Legal Research) Canada

Gavin Magrath – Chair
Lois Leslie – Vice Chair
Samina Ullah – Secretary
Margaret (Peggy) Stanier – Treasurer