Thailand: Robert Amsterdam

The Law Society of Upper Canada is always concerned when lawyers face reprisals for exercising their duties as advocates and are targeted for exercising their freedoms and rights under the law.

Article 16 of the United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers holds that “governments shall ensure that lawyers are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference; are able to travel and to consult with their clients freely; and shall not suffer, or be threatened with, prosecution or administrative, economic or other sanctions for any action taken in accordance with recognized professional duties, standards and ethics.”

As a result of attempting to carry out his professional obligations, lawyer Robert Amsterdam has been subjected to intimidation and interference by members of the Democrat Party in Thailand. In particular, he has had legal action threatened against him in his capacity as legal counsel to former Prime Minister of Thailand Thaksin Shinawatra. Despite the outcome of the July 2011 general election in Thailand, which resulted in Her Excellency Yingluck Shinawatra becoming Prime Minister, there are still concerns for the personal safety of Mr. Amsterdam.

As Thailand continues to strengthen its democracy, adherence to the rule of law and the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms of its citizens, lawyers such as Mr. Amsterdam must continue to play a paramount role in that process and must be able to do so without fear of reprisals or harassment.

Letter of Intervention