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CLA fighting for members’ rights


rhondathompson, [email protected]

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MANY LAWYERS IN the Commonwealth are being subjected to political persecution and the Commonwealth Lawyers Association (CLA) is fighting their cause.“We have become most known for intervening in human rights issues. In a lot of our member states, we have issues where lawyers are politically persecuted, so the CLA tends to be like a watchdog organisation to protect the rights of lawyers and, most importantly, the rule of law,” Wilfred Abrahams, council member of CLA, told the MIDWEEK NATION last week.In an interview at Nation House, Fontabelle, St Michael, he said CLA had even had to intervene as amicus curiae (a friend of the court) in human rights issues involving detainees at the United States’ Guantanamo Bay detention centre in Cuba.Abrahams, who recently entered politics and won the Barbados Labour Party’ nomination to represent the Christ Church East constituency two Sundays ago, said it might be “hard for us to conceive” in Barbados, but there was “a lot of persecution especially on the African continent, where lawyers were politically persecuted, judges were attacked or ridiculed or sidelined” for taking stances that governments might not be in agreement with.“A family member might get arrested or persecuted, or a lawyer’s office is broken into because a lawyer is trying to do his job for his client, regardless of who his client is. We are actually now dealing with a matter where an attorney was arrested and persecuted because of the client he was defending who was not friendly with the state,” he added.He pointed out that the main objective of CLA in fighting to preserve the human rights of Commonwealth lawyers was to protect society and the rule of law.“The lawyer acts as a guardian of society to protect the rights of individuals and society as a whole. [He is] the person who is the shield to prevent abuses. So if the lawyer becomes afraid to properly discharge his function or properly represent his clients or society, then who protects the average person who cannot protect himself?” Abrahams said. (SR) 

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