Human Rights House Network launched its new report Human Rights Lawyers at Risk: Making the Case for Protection of Legal Professionals in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine. The report highlights the growing intimidation and persecution of human rights lawyers calling for strengthening their protection.
The report outlines the persecution of prominent human rights lawyers in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine, and the grave consequences this has had for them and their clients’ access to human rights protection. The work of human rights lawyers is no longer efficient and safe; the principle of confidentiality is violated; the right of a client to protection is impeded; and trust in human rights instruments and the international courts will be diminished.
Intigam Aliyev, Azerbaijan’s prominent human rights lawyer is among the specific cases mentioned in the report.
The report calls for:
- stronger protection of professional legal standards internationally;
- wider promotion of existing protection for human rights lawyers, through their rights as human rights defenders;
- an end to government interference and limitations on human rights lawyers’ ability to represent clients, including victims of human rights violations;
- respect for the independence of bar associations; disbarment must be limited to an administrative measure aimed at ensuring professional and ethical standards;
- respect for the guarantees and immunities of human rights lawyers, and for these to be equal to those of other lawyers;
- human rights lawyers to have the same level of access as other lawyers to their clients, and for them to have the same confidentiality of communications.