Oral statement to Human Rights Council on the human rights situation in Azerbaijan
27 maart 2024

Oral statement to Human Rights Council on the human rights situation in Azerbaijan


On 25 March 2024, Lawyers for Lawyers delivered an oral statement during the interactive dialogue on the interim oral update of the High Commissioner on the situation of human rights in Azerbaijan. The dialogue took place during the 55th session of the UN Human Rights Council. Lawyers for Lawyers raised grave concerns as to the continuing violation of the rights of lawyers in Azerbaijan and its rejection of all recommendations pertaining to such rights.


The statement reads as follows:


Mr President,

Although Lawyers for Lawyers welcomes the decision of Azerbaijan to accept recommendations on the training and qualification of lawyers made at its 4th UPR, we continue to be alarmed at the human rights situation in Azerbaijan and regret that Azerbaijan refrained from accepting any recommendations pertaining to the rights of lawyers.  

Access to legal services provided by an independent legal profession is fundamental to the rule of law and an effectively functioning justice system. Lawyers must be able to work independently without fear of harassment, intimidation, or improper interference. 

In Azerbaijan, lawyers working on sensitive cases are subjected to attempts by investigative authorities to harass and disrupt their work. Lawyers face threats, intimidation, and (physical) attacks in connection with their legitimate work. In addition, some lawyers are subjected to criminal or disciplinary proceedings related to their professional legal duties, often based on vague or unsupported claims, which result in disbarment or imprisonment. The unlawful use of surveillance software to target lawyers and other human rights defenders also remains of great concern and violates lawyer-client confidentiality as well as other human rights such as the right to privacy and the right to a fair trial. 

We are further concerned about persistent reports that the Azerbaijan Bar Association does not operate as an independent self-governing institution and actually plays a role in undermining the work of lawyers defending human rights. Constituent bodies of the Bar Association are under the direct influence of the executive branch and appear to have insufficient leeway to carry out their functions in an independent manner.

We call on Azerbaijan to support instead of only note the recommendations on the need for effective, prompt, and independent investigations in all cases of harassment and violence against lawyers to hold perpetrators to account, and the need to bring the Lawyer’s Code of Conduct in line with international human rights law, and we urge Azerbaijan to reconsider and accept all other recommendations pertaining to the rights of lawyers.  

Thank you. 


See recording of the statement at UN Web TV: 43rd Meeting – 55th Regular Session of Human Rights Council | UN Web TV

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