Oral statement with L4L on Belarus to UN Human Rights Council

We delivered an oral statement with Lawyers for Lawyers (L4L) on the situation of lawyers in Belarus to the 46th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council through the use of our special consultative status.

We raised concerns about reports of lawyers who have been arrested, detained, or face disciplinary sanctions for exercising their professional activities in the aftermath of the presidential elections in Belarus.

We're also alarmed by reports that many citizens who were arrested and detained have not had access to a legal representative or a lawyer of their own choosing, and that the principle of lawyer-client confidentiality has often not been respected.

Lawyers have also been harassed by law enforcement officials while trying to provide legal counsel to clients.

These actions by state agents directly threaten the independence of the legal profession in Belarus and prevent access to justice of all citizens. 

We have special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC).

Special consultative status provides non-governmental institutions with access to, not only ECOSOC, but also to its many subsidiary bodies, to the various human rights mechanisms of the United Nations.

We've held special consultative status since March 2014.

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