The CCBE Human Rights Award was introduced to highlight the work of a lawyer or lawyers’ organisation which has demonstrated outstanding commitment and sacrifice in upholding fundamental values. According to the CCBE the award is granted to a lawyer or to a lawyers’ organisation which has brought honour to the legal profession by upholding the highest values of professional and personal conduct in the field of human rights.

After a thorough consideration of the nominations received, the following Iranian lawyers were granted the 2019 Human Rights Award: Nasrin Sotoudeh, Abdolfattah Soltani, Mohammad Najafi and Amirsalar Davoudi. The CCBE considers that their courage, determination and commitment to defending human rights in Iran, where all forms of opposition, be it ideological or political, are not tolerated, deserves the recognition of the European legal profession.

The CCBE believes that by granting these lawyers this award, it will highlight the problems of human rights violations perpetrated against all Iranian lawyers who are regularly detained and receive threats to their physical integrity. This will hopefully allow for continuous and constant international pressure to be exerted on the Iranian regime to release and provide these lawyers with protection.

In recent news the Bar leaders and lawyers from across the world have agreed to participate in #1minute4Nasrin by sharing video messages of support for one of the awarded Iranian lawyers, Nasrin Sotoudeh. Over a year ago, on 13 June 2018, Nasrin Sotoudeh was arrested and taken to Evin prison, where she is still being held. In March 2019, the Iranian regime sentenced her to 33 years in prison and 148 Lashes. The Bar Associations and Law Societies of the G7 countries have renewed calls for her immediate release in a video message.

The G7 Bars and Law Societies have issued a joint statement signed by leaders of the Law Society of England and Wales, the French National Bar Association, the Canadian Bar Association, the German Bar Association, Germany’s Federal Bar Association, the National Bar Council of Italy, the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe, and Japan’s Federation of Bars Associations.

 Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe CCBE Human Rights Award 2019 Press Release.