The Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC) has sent an open letter to the President of China following the recent wave of arrests of lawyers and human rights defenders in the country. These people are reportedly accused of causing social chaos through open defiance in the courtroom, on the internet and organising protests. It is understood that 220 lawyers, legal staff, human rights defenders and family members have been arrested since the start of the crackdown

BHRC calls on the Chinese authorities to immediately release all those detained and to provide those that continue to be detained with proper access to lawyers who are able to effectively provide a defence. Chair of the Bar Human Rights Committee, Kirsty Brimelow QC, said, “ We urge China to fulfil its commitments to upholding the rule of law by complying with the provisions set out in the core UN conventions to which it is a party. Governments must allow lawyers to perform their professional functions and its citizens to participate in the public affairs of their country”.

Read the full letter [here]

BHRC has also signed a joint letter from 24 organisations condemning the arrests [here]