Joint UPR submission Tajikistan
On 25 March 2021, Lawyers for Lawyers together with the International Bar Association submitted a report for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Tajikistan. The UPR of Hungary will take place in November 2021.
In the report, Lawyers for Lawyers (L4L) and the International Bar Association (IBA) emphasize that Tajikistan is currently not fulfilling all the requirements set out in the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, which contain the necessary guarantees for the proper functioning of the legal profession.
L4L and the IBA express their concern about the fact that lawyers have faced significant constraints when exercising their profession in recent years. The rights and privileges of lawyers, and their clients, have not been guaranteed, and lawyers have sometimes been subject to harassment and improper interference by law enforcement state agencies.
According to our information, lawyers are regularly prevented from meeting with their clients. Moreover, lawyers from Tajikistan have reported that insufficient measures are taken by prison personnel to guarantee the confidential nature of the meetings of lawyers with their clients. Meetings with clients in detention are sometimes attended by prison personnel, violating the principle of confidentiality. In the report it is also highlighted that actions or activities carried out by any stakeholders which target lawyers or restrict their professional activities go completely unsanctioned and unpunished.
Furthermore, according to our information, lawyers in Tajikistan have faced significant persecution for their involvement in politically sensitive cases. This interference comes in the form of intimidation and other threats against numerous attorneys (and their families), typically in retaliation for representing political opponents or expressing a willingness to take on politically sensitive cases. Often lawyers working on sensitive cases are threatened with disciplinary, administrative and even criminal charges for doing their work.
In 2015 the Law On Advokatura was introduced, which established a unified self-governing Bar Association representing all lawyers in Tajikistan. However, there are concerns that the institutional independence of the legal profession in Tajikistan is not fully guaranteed. Following the introduction in 2015 of the Law On Advokatura, lawyers were obliged to sit exams set by the Ministry of Justice to enter the newly established Bar Association, resulting in a low number of practising lawyers in Tajikistan.
L4L and the IBA have made multiple recommendations to the government of Tajikistan.
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