Joint Oral Statement at the OSCE Warsaw Human Dimension Conference on Belarus
Lawyers for Lawyers (L4L), the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), European Lawyers (CCBE) and Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights delivered an oral statement on the situation of lawyers in Belarus. The statement was delivered during the OSCE Warsaw Human Dimension Conference.
The statement reads as follows:
The Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute, the International Commission of Jurists, and Lawyers for Lawyers deplore the deterioration of the human rights situation in Belarus, including violations against lawyers.
Since the 2020 elections, Belarusian lawyers have been subjected to politically motivated persecution, including disbarment, arbitrary arrests and detention, and prosecution, simply for performing their professional duties.
Since May 2022, over 200 lawyers have left the bar following detrimental amendments to the Law on the Bar and Legal Advocacy, becoming effective as of November 2021. This unlawfully and arbitrarily restricts human rights defenders’ and other individuals’ right to independent, effective legal representation, in violation of Belarus’ legal obligations.
We condemn the lack of accountability for gross human rights violations in Belarus since the 2020 elections, including widespread and systematic torture and ill treatment, disproportionate use of force, arbitrary arrests, and detention.
We urge the authorities to address the recommendations in the 2020 Moscow Mechanism report, and to cooperate with international human rights procedures, and call on OSCE participating States and the international community to take all possible actions to ensure accountability.
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