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Church Court Chambers stands united with Essex Court Chambers and its members, following the decision of the Chinese Government to sanction the Chambers collectively and therefore all its Members.
The trigger for that sanction? An Opinion provided by four members of that Chambers in regard to alleged international crimes being committed against the Uyghur people. The opinion, which considered the evidence and applicable law was drafted by a team led by Alison McDonald QC. The Opinion concluded that ‘there is a very credible case that acts carried out by the Chinese government against the Uyghur people in XUAR amount to crimes against humanity and the crime of genocide.’
History has taught us that individuals must be able to speak up when atrocities are taking place. The sanctioning of barristers and their Chambers simply for providing a written opinion, based on evidence, is an attack on the rule of law and an attack upon us all.
A fiercely independent legal sector is something to which States should aspire, not seek to attack.
Michael Polak of Chambers’ International Team and who chairs Lawyers for Uyghur Rights, told The Global Legal Post: “It is disgraceful that China is targeting lawyers who have written opinions based on the available evidence which shows that crimes against humanity and genocide are taking place. This attack on the rule of law, which provides that lawyers should be able to act without fear, or retribution, is also likely to be counterproductive”.
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