36th LAWASIA Conference 2023 Kicks Off, Uniting Legal Minds For Insightful Discussions And Collaborative Progress
LAWASIA is a regional association of lawyers, judges, jurists and legal organisations, which advocates for the interests and concerns of the Asia Pacific legal profession. The 36th LAWASIA Conference 2023 organized by LAWASIA and the The Bar Association of India commenced on 24th November at the Four Seasons Hotel Bengaluru. The conference marks a significant gathering of legal minds from across the globe. The highly anticipated Conference officially commenced with a dazzling opening ceremony that set the stage for an immersive and enlightening event.
Speaking at the Inaugural session, Chief Minister of Karnataka, Siddaramaiah said, legal professionals and representatives of lawyers associations must use their unique understanding of the International legal system to fight against human rights violations. He also said that “For over fifty years LAWASIA has operated as a platform to promote the cross-jurisdictional exchange of legal knowledge; as a voice of the legal profession.Being a lawyer myself. I consider it a privilege to be a part of this conference.”
Highlighting the need of following the Rule of Law he said “It seems like we have laws, rules, and regulations to oversee just about everything. We don’t always like these rules, since they often mean that someone is telling us what to do, or keeping us from doing what we want. Yet to live in a civil society, we must have some rules to follow.”
He added “Laws are rules that bind all people living in a community. Laws protect our general safety, and ensure our rights as citizens against abuses by other people, by organisations, and by the government itself. We have laws to help provide for our general safety. They exist at the local, state and national levels.”
Siddaramaiah said, “The Constitution is the ultimate source of the law. The Indian Constitution is unique in both spirit and content. The Constitution states that India is a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic and republican State. The Objectives of the Constitution are justice, liberty, equality and fraternity. Protection of the Constitution is the duty of every citizen, especially the youth must understand the idea of the democracy and the Constitution, and thereby they know the main purpose of the preamble, to lead a life with dignity, freedom and equality."
The keynote address was delivered by Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Chairperson, M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation; Former Chief Scientist, WHO, who urged that defining challenge of our time, it is not the pandemic but it is Climate Change.
She said “There is a link between the two not only between our health and the health of all living organisms, on this planet. I also want to make a link with equity because I am speaking to an audience of lawyers. You know everything about justice, but unfortunately we live in a world where there is a lot of injustice. There is Climate injustice, health injustice and hopefully together we can think about some solution together.”
Highlighting that the only legal framework we have today globally for health is the framework convention on tobacco control. She said “It took many many years to negotiate at the world health assembly but ultimately it was negotiated and it has had its impact on reducing tobacco use across the world.”
“We don't have a legal framework for other health conditions. Currently the countries are negotiating a pandemic treaty or a pandemic accord which will set some of the rules for how countries would need to act if and when there is another pandemic. But negotiations are going on and we don't know whether all these equity issues and access issues will be addressed,” she said.
Senior Advocate SS Naganand, Vice President, Bar Association of India, and Conference Co-chair, said “LAWASIA’s annual conferences are vibrant, intellectually stimulating, informative and a great social occasion for lawyers across continents to meet and greet.”
Informing about the list of events scheduled to be held during the conference he said “Our target was to achieve 500 registrations for the conference but I am happy to announce that we have crossed the number today. We have over 200 delegates from overseas, and neighbouring countries and the remaining have come from various parts of India and also Bangalore itself.” He also read out the messages received from the Vice President of India and the Prime Minister of India.
Also present at the ceremony were Dr Gordon Hughes AM, Secretary-General, LAWASIA | Australia, Melissa K Pang BBS, MH, JP, President of LAWASIA | Hong Kong SAR and Prashant Kumar, President of The Bar Association of India, India.