Lawyer Pavel Sapelka greets German colleagues at human rights forum in Berlin

2013 2013-12-02T17:01:33+0300 2013-12-02T17:01:33+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

On 29 November in Berlin the German Bar Association (DAV) held a Forum on human rights. Among those invited to this event was a representative of Belarus, a lawyer and attorney Pavel Sapelka.

Words of greeting to the participants of the forum were said by the president of DAV Wolfgang Eber, the director of the German Institute for Human Rights Beate Rudolf and Paul Sapelka.

Pavel Sapelka, in particular, said: "In 2012, I was immensely touched by the initiative of the European colleagues – the Council of bar associations and law societies of Europe, who gave me the award "For the protection of human rights". I saw this not only as a recognition of my achievements, but also a symbolic action to protect and support the legal profession in the countries where the legal profession has not received adequate protection and guarantees from the state.

Lawyers are professional defenders, they constantly come to protect the interests of those who entrust them their interests, their own destiny, and sometimes life. Often the performance of their professional duties becomes a struggle, opposition to injustice and pressurization ...

Our colleagues performed great deeds and received many testimonies of their professional and human qualities, were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. One of the first winners was Albert Gobat, awarded for the efforts to create an international arbitration. We remember Tobias Asser and Henri La Fontaine. We are proud of Ms. Shirin Ebadi, called " a great professional and courageous woman, who has never been afraid of threats to her own life ..."

Unfortunately, in my country, lawyers still lack many professional rights and freedoms, are totally controlled by government authorities and threatened with disqualification for the advocacy of political opponents of the regime, or simply for the open use of their civil rights. This lack of freedom can not but affect the quality of a lawyer when the lawyer is forced to reckon with the position and the will of the state. This situation is a cause for criticism, contempt for the profession and the results of the lawyers' work in the society.

We lawyers must remember our purpose and defend a true understanding of the freedom and independence of the legal profession, without compromising our views and interests of our clients. Then lawyers will be really popular, and the profession and its representatives will be truly respected in our countries."

German Bar Association (DAV) was founded in August 1871 at the initiative of the Prussian and Bavarian bar associations. DAV now consists of 29 working groups in Germany. They are involved in many activities and offer interesting opportunities for mutual exchange of services in the relevant branches of law.