Follow-up concluding observations by UN Human Rights Committee
On 8 November 2019, the UN Human Rights Committee published a report evaluating the follow-up to its concluding observations on Azerbaijan. In October 2016, the UN Human Rights Committee reviewed Azerbaijan’s compliance with its international human rights obligations under the ICCPR.
Lawyers for Lawyers submitted two reports on Azerbaijan to the Committee: a submission on the List of Issues and a submission for the session of the review. In these submissions, L4L highlighted the failure of the Azerbaijani authorities, as they do not always uphold the necessary guarantees for the proper functioning of the legal profession.
In its concluding observations the Committee called on the Azerbaijani authorities to “take immediate measures to ensure that sufficient safeguards are in place, both in law and in practice, to guarantee the full independence and safety of lawyers and their effective protection against any form of retaliation, including violence, in connection with their professional activity. It should, inter alia:
(a) Refrain from any actions that may constitute harassment, persecution or undue interference in the work of lawyers, including their suspension, disbarment or other disciplinary actions or criminal prosecution on improper grounds such as the expression of critical views or the nature of cases they are involved in;
(b) Eliminate the practice of calling lawyers as witnesses in the cases they are representing.”
In its evaluation of the follow-up to these recommendations the Committee stated:
“The Committee notes the possibility of lawyers being considered as protected persons, but regrets the lack of information on the measures that have been taken to prevent any actions that may constitute harassment, persecution or undue interference in the work of lawyers. The Committee reiterates its recommendations. The Committee regrets that no information was provided on the practice of calling lawyers as witnesses in cases in which they are representing a defendant. The Committee reiterates its recommendation.”
Lawyers for Lawyers welcomes the reiteration of these recommendations by the Committee and calls on the Azerbaijani authorities to take immediate measures to ensure full compliance with these recommendations.
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