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Ludovic-Trarieux International-Human Rights Prize 2016

Prix International des Droits de l'Homme Ludovic-Trarieux 2016

Premio Internacional de Derechos Humanos Ludovic Trarieux 2016

Premio Internazionale per i Diritti Umani Ludovic Trarieux 2016

Internationalen Ludovic-Trarieux-Menschenrechtspreis 2016

Prêmio Internacional de Direitos Humanos Ludovic Trarieux 2016

Ludovic Trarieux Internationale Mensenrechtenprijs 2016


 Since  1984


“The award given by lawyers to a lawyer”

“L’hommage des avocats à un avocat ”

“El homenaje de abogados a un abogado

“L'omaggio degli avvocati ad un avvocato”

“Die Hommage von Anwälten zu einem Anwalt”

« De award gegeven door advocaten aan een advocaat »




The XXIst "Ludovic-Trarieux" Human Rights International Prize 2016


 awarded to



Wang Yu


XXIst  "Ludovic-Trarieux" Human Rights International Prize 2016


A Jury composed of 22 european lawyers coming from the bars of Paris, Bordeaux, Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Geneva, Luxemburg, Roma, together with the European Bar Human Rights Institute (IDHAE) and the Union Internationale des Avocats (UIA)  meeting in Athens Bar Association Office on June 4th  2016, awarded the 21st  prestigious Ludovic trarieux Human Rights Prize to China lawyer Wang Yu.


In choosing Wang, the jury wanted to "hail the courage" of a woman who “decided that she could no longer keep her mouth shut  despite the danger of speaking out, and chose to expose herself to dangers in order to defend the rights of women, children and persecuted minorities”.


Wang, arrested in July 2015, is one of an estimated 250 lawyers and activists detained in a crackdown since then. She is charged with "state subversion" and could receive a life sentence.


China accuses Wang and others of using a Beijing law firm as a front to organise criminal activity. Her husband, a lawyer, is also in custody while her 16-year-old son is under police surveillance.




Wang Yu, 45, from Ulanhot, Inner Mongolia, has becomed the “Emblem of China’s Human Rights Crackdown”. As a Chinese human rights lawyer, she is sadly known for being the first victim to be detained in the “709 Crackdown”, one of the harshest actions against the legal profession in China.


Wang Yu began to practice as a lawyer in Beijing in May 2004, mainly working on commercial cases. Following the Tianjin railway incident on May 4, 2008, she got into an argument with rail employees when she was denied entry onto a train even though she had a ticket. Several unidentified men assaulted Wang Yu. She filed a complaint with the local police, but seven months later, she was charged with “intentional assault”. The police officer revenged and on December 9, 2008, instead of receiving a response to her complaint, Wang Yu was arrested.On November 24, 2010, after a questionable legal process, she was sentenced on appeal to 2 years and six months in prison by the Beijing Railway Transportation Court. While in prison, Wang Yu became aware of widespread torture and mistreatment of prisoners. Her lawyer’s license was also suspended afterwards and she was allowed to practice again in late 2012. She decided “to improve China's human rights system through the legal system and push for the rule of law."


Between 2011 and 2015, she actively worked as a human rights lawyer, undertaking challenging legal cases involving clients who other lawyers feared to represent. Wang Yu represented numerous victims of human rights violations, in particular, members of vulnerable groups such as women, children, migrant workers, disabled people, and ethnic and religious minorities. She also represented human rights defenders and political dissidents. Among them:

-        Liu Ming, a visually impaired person, in a case known as the “Beijing First Case Regarding Discrimination against Disability in Employment” (Beijing, 2013-2014);

-        Falun Gong practitioners charged with “Sabotaging Legal Enforcement by Using Heretical Religion”. Defense of these every sensitive and politically charged cases certainly increased the risk that Wang Yu herself would be subject to police retaliation. On 22 April 2015, as she was representing Falun Gong member in Shenhe District Court, Wang Yu was violently dragged out of court after she protested to the judge because her female client was beaten.

-        Ilham Tohti, a Uyghur activist and economist sentenced to life imprisonment on separatism-related charges (Xinjiang, 2014);

-        Cao Shunli, a woman human rights activist, who after being abducted at the airport, was charged with “creating disturbance” and who eventually died in custody in 2014, reportedly following a lack of adequate medical treatment (Beijing, 2013-2014);

-        The “Five Feminists” who were charged in March 2015 with “picking quarrels and provoking troubles” as they planned a public awareness campaign against sexual harassment to coincide with International Women’s Day (Beijing, 2015).

-        Fan Mugen, an eviction protester, who was found guilty of “intentional injury” and sentenced to 8 years of imprisonment after he attacked members of a demolition gang who came to raze his home and who assaulted his family (Jiangsu, 2013-2015);

-        Wu Gan, a prominent cyber activist who worked for Wang’s law firm, the Beijing Fengrui Law Firm, charged with “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” and “inciting subversion of state power” after he supported harassed lawyers working on a death penalty case involving defendants who had been tortured to confess.


Wang Yu cosigned statements and participated inactions urging increased protection for human rights; supporting lawyers and activists arbitrarily sanctioned, harassed or prosecute’requesting abolition of re-education through labor; and denouncing death penalty convictions. Moreover, Wang Yu also submitted legislative suggestions and petitions, co-signed open letters and participated in public discussions on many human rights issues, including discrimination against gender, children’s rights and protection of human rights lawyers.

Because of her human rights activities, Wang Yu had been consistently harassed, threatened, assaulted by the police, and smeared in the state-run media. On June 2015, her imprisonment in 2008 became the basis for a smear campaign in Xinhua, when a published article portrayed Wang Yu as a violent and deceitful lawyer who had refused to pay the financial penalty for her actions.


On July 9, 2015, early in the morning, the electricity and Internet were shut off at Wang Yu’s home, the front door was pried open, and she was taken away. She had just sent a text message to friends saying that her internet and electricity had been cut off and that people were trying to break into her home. She remained missing for a few days before her relatives knew she had effectively been arrested. The same day Bao Longjun, her husband and a trainee lawyer, and Bao Zhuoxuan, their 16-year-old son, were taken into custody at Beijing Capital Airport. Their son was handed over to his aunt and his passport was confiscated. He then went to two of his parents’friends with the intention to go to the United States via Thailand, but he was apprehended in Burma. He was heavily interrogated, and threatened. Today, the teenager is under house arrest at his grandparents’home in Mongolia. The neighbours’homes had been adopted for the 24-hour monitoring.


Soon after Wang’s arrest, law firm staff and their relatives have been detained, arrested, held incommunicado, summoned, forbidden from leaving the country or otherwise have had their freedom temporarily restricted. Many of them worked at Wang’s law firm. The head of the firm, Zhou Shifeng, was among those targeted. Since her arrest, Wang Yu has been the focus of a ferocious attack in state media. An official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, The People’s Daily, accused the Fengrui Law Firm of being a criminal gang and part of a criminal operation to ‘undermine social stability’.


Wang Yu and her husband were placed under “residential surveillance in a designated location”. Chinese regulations allow for secret detention in an undisclosed location for a period of up to six months. On January 9, 2015 at the end of the six-month period, Wang Yu, was formally charged with “subversion against the State”, and risks a maximum sentence of life imprisonment or not less than 10 years of fixed-term imprisonment. Her husband, Bao Longjun, was accused of incitation for the same crime. She is currently imprisoned at Tianjin No. 1 Detention Center.








(par ordre alphabétique)


Dominique Attias

Brigitte Azéma-Peyret  

Isabelle Bühler Galladé 

Zbigniew Cichon 

Maxime Delhomme  

Nicole Derhy

Carlos Fatàs Mosquera

Bertrand Favreau

Julie Goffin

Marie-France Guet 

Bernd Haüsler 

Christina Kountouri 

Charilaos Ladis

Anton Giulio Lana 

Fanny Margairaz 

Mario Melillo 

Christophe Pettiti

Agaath S. Reijnders-Sluis 

Sophia Spilotopoulos 

Adrie van de Streek 

Haris Tagaras

Jean-Jacques Uettwiller 


“The tribute given by lawyers to a lawyer”


Created in 1984, the "International Human Rights Prize Ludovic -Trarieux” is awarded to " a lawyer, regardless of nationality or Bar, who thoroughout his career has illustrated, by his activity or his suffering, the defence of human rights, the promotion of defence rights, the supremacy of law, and the struggle against racism and intolerance in any form ".


It is the oldest and most prestigious award given to a lawyer in the world, commemorating the memory of the French lawyer, Ludovic Trarieux (1840-1904), who in the midst of the Dreyfus Affair, in France, in 1898, founded the " League for the Defence of Human Rights and the Citizen ", because, he said: " It was not only the single cause of a man which was to be defended, but behind this cause, law, justice, humanity ".


The first Prize was awarded on March 29th, 1985 to Nelson Mandela then in jail. It was officially presented to his daughter, Zenani Mandela Dlamini, on April 27th 1985, in front of forty presidents of Bars and Law Societies from Europe and Africa. It was the first award given to Mandela in France and the first around the world given by lawyers. On February 11th 1990, Nelson Mandela was released. Since then, it was decided that the Prize would be awarded again.


Since 2003, the Prize is awarded every year in partnership by the Human Rights Institute of The Bar of Bordeaux, the Human Rights Institute of the Bar of Paris, the Human Rights Institute of The Bar of Brussels, l'Unione forense per la tutela dei diritti dell'uomo (Roma), Rechtsanwaltskammer Berlin, the Bar of Luxemburg, the Bar of Geneva, the Bar of Amsterdam as well as the Union Internationale des Avocats (UIA), and the European Bar Human Rights Institute (IDHAE) whose members are the biggest european law societies fighting for human rights. It is presented every year in a city that is home to one of the member Institutes.


1985: Nelson MANDELA (South Africa)

1992: Augusto ZÚÑIGA PAZ (Peru) †

1994: Jadranka CIGELJ (Bosnia-Herzegovina)

1996 Nejib HOSNI (Tunisia) and Dalila MEZIANE (Algeria).

1998 ZHOU Guoqiang (China)

2000 Esber YAGMURDERELI (Turkey)

2002 Mehrangiz KAR (Iran)

2003 Digna OCHOA and Bárbara ZAMORA (Mexico)

2004: Akhtam NAISSE (Syria)

2005: Henri BURIN DES ROZIERS (Brazil)

2006: Parvez IMROZ (India)

2007 : René GÓMEZ MANZANO (Cuba)

2008 : U AYE MYINT (Burma)

2009 : Beatrice MTETWA (Zimbabwe)

2010 : Karinna MOSKALENKO (Russia)

2011 : Fethi TERBIL (Libya)

2012 : Muharrem ERBEY (Turkey)

2013 : Vadim KURAMSHIN (Kazakhstan)

2014 : Mahienour el-MASSRY (Egypt)

2015 : Waleed Abu al-KHAIR (Saudi Arabia)





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