LRWC Biennial Report 2017 – 2018 | Report

Full Report (PDF)


1 January 2017 to 31 December 2018

“Promoting human rights by protecting those who defend them.”


Executive Director’s Message
Positive Outcomes
United Nations Participation

  • Human Rights Council 3
  • Universal Periodic Reviews 7
  • Human Rights Committee 8
  • Committee Against Torture 8
  • Working Group on Arbitrary Detention 9
  • Working Group on Business & Rights 10
  • International Criminal Court 11

International Conferences and Delegations
Amicus Briefs & Interventions
Nominations and Awards for Defenders
International Human Rights Reports to Canada
Letters for Lawyers
International Human Rights Education
Legal Research & Publications
Work with Other NGOs
Boards of Directors
Donors, Contributors & Volunteers
Contact Information


Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC) is a committee of lawyers dedicated to promoting the rule of law and human rights internationally by:

  • Providing support to lawyers and other human rights defenders whose rights, freedoms, or independence are threatened as a result of their human rights advocacy;
  • Conducting legal research and producing legal analyses of national and international laws and standards relevant to advocacy rights, the integrity of legal systems, fair trials rights, and the rule of law;
  • Working in cooperation with other human rights organizations; and
  • Engaging in legal education.

In addition to the work of the LRWC, the LRW(Legal Research)C engages in legal research and education and has charitable tax status. LRWC and LRW(Legal Research)C are non-profit societies incorporated under the Canada Not for Profit Corporations Act.


While the dangers faced by human rights defenders around the world worsened significantly during the reporting period, the scope and efficacy of LRWC work improved. During the past two years, more and more states—including western democracies—used the law, courts, and prisons to criminalize human rights advocacy and to silence, punish, and imprison critics and opponents and their representatives. States routinely violated international law citing unsubstantiated needs to override rights in order to protect national security or fight terrorism. Individuals targeted included: lawyers, judges, human rights advocates, land protectors, environmentalists, anti-global warming activists, and individuals—including journalists—exposing human rights abuses by state actors. Powerful states, including members of the UN Human Rights Council, asserted ‘sovereign’ rights to authoritarian models of governance where the executive controls the courts, the law is a tool of oppression and decision makers are unaccountable for violating internationally protected rights. The upsurge in states routinely targeting human rights defenders with abuse took many forms. Some states used overly broad criminal charges, denial of due process and executive-controlled courts to arbitrarily imprison human rights defenders. In some states advocacy rights and environmental protection were routinely supplanted—usually with state sanctions—by the self-proclaimed ‘rights’ and needs of corporations involved in resource extraction, hydro-electric dams and other mega projects. LRWC members responded heroically. The quantity, quality and efficacy of the work done pro bono by LRWC members increased. During the reporting period, LRWC members made important contributions to the global struggle for the enforcement of international human rights and the maintenance of rights-based governance and legal systems that adhere to the rule of law. This pro bono research, education and advocacy remain critical to this struggle. Thank you for your support. It has meant a lot to human rights defenders in danger around the world.