July 24, 2014
  • Promoting nonviolence and protecting human rights defenders since 1981
UK > Alliance for Lawyers at Risk 
"Our families, who live with a permanent anxiety that one day we may not return home, are less worried knowing that we are accompanied by PBI." Eduardo Carreño, José Alvear Lawyers' Collective, Colombia

Alliance for Lawyers at Risk

A lawyer in Britain can represent an individual or group challenging public institutions or powerful interests without feeling personally at risk. Sadly, the same is not the case everywhere.

Lawyers in some countries are regularly subjected to threats to themselves or their families, are physically attacked and even abducted and forcibly "disappeared" simply for doing their jobs. In Colombia alone, as many as 25 lawyers may be killed each year. [1]

With around 80 volunteer international observers Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico and Nepal, PBI provides unarmed protection for lawyers and other human rights defenders working on legal cases by accompanying them on the ground and setting up networks of support through its diplomatic and international connections.

Lawyers in the United Kingdom can play a crucial role in helping PBI in this important work, by joining the Alliance for Lawyers at Risk, which was launched on 10 November 2010.

Download a booklet about the Alliance.

Read about some of the lawyers PBI protects.

Joining the alliance

The Alliance draws on the expertise and resources of the British legal profession to link with lawyers at risk abroad, helping to protect them and promote their work. Members can give their support in various ways:

  • Establishing a direct link with individual lawyers or legal organisations in need of protection
  • Participating in fact-finding delegations to affected countries
  • Voicing concerns in specific cases of danger
  • Assisting in the preparation of submissions to governments, and amicus curiae briefs
  • Advising on the review of codes and legislation to ensure their compliance with international legal standards
  • Helping with the training of local lawyers, including producing training manuals or helping them to access local support
  • Providing financial support for PBI's protection work
  • Publicly endorsing the objectives of the Alliance

By joining the Alliance, whether as an individual lawyer or through your firm, chambers or other organisation, you will be expressing your support for these efforts and your willingness to play a part in protecting threatened lawyers. You will learn about the cases in which PBI is involved and how you may be able to help, whether in particular cases or more generally. Download a membership form (pdf)

See founding members

[1] The American Association of Jurists and Avocats Sans Frontières Quebec, Informe sobre la situación de los abogados en Colombia [Report on the situation of lawyers in Colombia], 10 December 2007

PBI UK, 1b Waterlow Road, London N19 5NJ.

Tel/Fax: 44 (0)20 7281 5370 | Email us

UK Charity Number: 1101016

International Office, Development House, 56-64 Leonard Street, London EC2A 4LT, U.K. Tel: +44 20 7065 0775
To find your nearest PBI office visit the international contact page