Papuan lawyers to be honoured at Lawyers for Lawyers Award ceremomy

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31 May 2013
TAPOL

London, 31 May 2013 – Two human rights lawyers from West Papua, Olga Hamadi and Gustaf Kawer, are today being honoured at a ceremony for the Lawyers for Lawyers Award in Amsterdam. An expert jury placed them third on the shortlist for the Award won by Russian human lawyer, Magamed Abubakarov. 

TAPOL, which nominated the two lawyers, congratulates them on this deserved international recognition of their dedication to legal advocacy on behalf of indigenous Papuans.

“The award is evidence of the commitment, courage and professionalism of Olga Hamadi and Gustaf Kawer and their fellow lawyers in West Papua. The Indonesian government should take notice and take a firm stand against attempts to intimidate and obstruct them in their valuable work for the cause of justice in West Papua,” said Paul Barber, Coordinator of TAPOL.  

Human rights lawyers in West Papua work in extremely difficult circumstances. They are often stigmatised as separatists, intimidated and threatened by police, military, intelligence and judicial personnel for representing Papuans who are regularly arrested just for taking part in demonstrations and exercising their right to freedom of expression.

In its report on the award, the jury said of the two lawyers: “They are a beacon of light in a region where people have lost their confidence in the legal system and are confronted with violence whenever they protest against the rampant injustice done to their people. These two lawyers show great and ongoing courage…in a situation largely ignored by the outside world.”

The lawyers describe their situation on video in ‘A Story of Human Rights Lawyers in Papua’ available here.

Currently, Olga Hamadi, SH. Msc is the Coordinator of the human rights organisation, KontraS Papua. She started work as a human rights lawyer when she joined the Papua Legal Aid Foundation in 2005. Gustaf Kawer, SH, M.Hum has worked as a human rights lawyer since joining the Papua Legal Aid Foundation in 2000. Both lawyers are members of the Civil Society Coalition to Uphold Law and Human Rights in Papua, which advocates on behalf of victims of injustice and repression.

Human rights lawyers from across the world were nominated for the Lawyers for Lawyers Award. It was created by the Dutch civil society organisation Lawyers for Lawyers (L4L), which commits itself to enabling lawyers to practice law freely and independently in conformity with international law, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.

ENDS

 

Contact: Paul Barber on +44 774 730 1739