Opinion | 31.10.2018

UIA Resolution Against All Forms of Slavery

Whereas the fight against slavery is undoubtedly a worldwide priority that necessarily requires a comprehensive approach involving governments, civil society and business;

Having noted the extent of the phenomenon of modern-day slavery, which is shocking both in terms of the number of victims and the profits that it generates;

Recalling all the actions already taken by numerous stakeholders in the fight against the phenomenon (United Nations agencies, international organisations and civil society groups) and the efforts made, in particular, by field-based organisations to obtain the inclusion of the fight against slavery in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (Target 8.7);

Having noted, in particular, during the International Bar Leaders’ Senate that was held at the UN Headquarters in New York on 28 June 2018 on the theme of modern-day slavery, that engaging the legal profession in the fight against this phenomenon is a matter of urgency;

Therefore, desiring to increase the profession’s awareness of the national and international repercussions of human trafficking or of the various forms of modern-day slavery, both from the perspective of the number of individuals involved and the potential consequences for even the most ethical businesses, which, although they may be innocent under criminal law, inevitably suffer public opprobrium;

Emphasising the responsibility of professional organisations in raising the awareness of their collective and individual members of the extent of the phenomenon and of how they can use their competencies to combat it, the UIA General Meeting, which was held on October 30, 2018 in Porto, Portugal, adopts the following resolution:

The Union Internationale des Avocats (UIA - International Association of Lawyers) condemns all forms of slavery, including forms of modern-day slavery such as forced labour, child slavery, debt bondage and labour involving human trafficking. The UIA urges governments, public institutions, economic stakeholders, Bar Associations and all their members to work within their means to ensure the application of the national and international instruments that make it possible to identify those responsible for violating the rights of all the victims of these acts, to bring the perpetrators to justice and to guarantee legal representation of the victims in all proceedings, in particular in order to obtain remedy.

Resolution ratified on Tuesday October 30, 2018, during the General Assembly in Porto