Lawyers for Lawyers and ABA CHR sumbit report on Belarus to OHCHR
Lawyers for Lawyers handed in a submission on Belarus to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). For this submission, the OHCHR invited individuals, groups, and organizations to submit information and documentation relevant to the mandate of the examination of the human rights situation in Belarus. It aims to include information related to human rights violations committed in Belarus since 1 May 2020.
In this context, Lawyers for Lawyers and the American Bar Association Center for Human Rights (ABA CHR) submitted a report on the situation of lawyers in Belarus in the aftermath of the presidential elections in August 2020. The submission highlights that lawyers in Belarus working on sensitive cases have been the subject of judicial harassment, arbitrary arrests, detention, administrative sanctions, criminal prosecution, and disciplinary sanctions – including disbarment. The amendments to the Law on the Bar and Advocacy in Belarus, that entered into force in November 2021 and infringe the independence of the legal profession and undermine the rule of law are also highlighted.
Belarusian authorities have failed to fulfil their duty to protect lawyers from such harassment and sanctions for performing their professional activities. As a result, lawyers in Belarus are effectively prohibited from carrying out their professional duties independently and are unable to ensure the fair and effective administration of justice and adherence to the rule of law.
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