Thursday, October 17, 2019

Human rights lawyer Sirikan becomes first woman to receive Dutch L4L award

May 20. 2017
Sirikan Charoensiri receives her award in Amsterdam.
Sirikan Charoensiri receives her award in Amsterdam.
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HUMAN rights lawyer Sirikan Charoensiri has become the first woman to receive international recognition from Dutch civil society group Lawyers for Lawyers (L4L).

She was presented with the Lawyers for Lawyers Award 2017 at a ceremony in Amsterdam on Friday. 

The accolade is given every two years to exceptional human rights lawyers working to promote the rule of law.

Sirikan, 31, is a co-founder of Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, a lawyers’ collective set up shortly after the military coup on May 22, 2014, to provide legal aid and monitor the human rights situation in Thailand.

The jury remarked that Sirikan “stands up for human rights activists, journalists and people tried after the coup by military courts, even though she is facing considerable risks herself”. 

Its statement added: “The jury wants to applaud her unwavering courage and commitment, and draw attention to the human rights situation in Thailand that is relatively unknown in the West.”

At Friday’s ceremony, besides addressing the deteriorating post-coup human rights situation in Thailand, Sirikan thanked the organisation for its recognition of the hard work and endeavour of lawyers who sought to protect the rule of law and human rights while facing continual threats from state authorities. 

She also paid tribute to courageous activists and rights advocates who never cease to demonstrate non-violently against illegitimate governments and who inspired her to continue her work as a human rights lawyer. Sirikan encouraged rights advocate to continue fighting for justice and rights.

The lawyer, who was selected for the award by 18 nominees around the word, has faced a number of criminal charges in connection to her professional activities. 

If found guilty, she could face up to 10 years in prison. 

According to their website, L4L is an independent and non-political body which seeks to promote the proper functioning of the rule of law by pursuing freedom and independence of the legal profession. It is committed to enabling lawyers to practise law in freedom and independence.

The Lawyers for Lawyers Award is given to a lawyer or group of lawyers who work to promote the rule of law and human rights in an exceptional way and are threatened because of their work. The prize is a special medal plus 10,000 euros (Bt384,000).


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