Azerbaijan mid-term review UPR report

Along with Lawyers for Lawyers, we’ve submitted a mid-term review report on the implementation of recommendations accepted by Azerbaijan as part of its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in 2018.

The UPR is an inter-governmental process that takes place before the UN Human Rights Council where all member states of the United Nations get assessed on their human rights record every four years.

In this mid-term report, we established that even if Azerbaijan accepted certain recommendations regarding the independence of the legal profession, they were not effectively implemented so that serious threats to such independence continued.

With grave concern, we noted that many lawyers in Azerbaijan are not allowed to perform their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference. This also has a detrimental impact on access to justice for citizens of Azerbaijan.

Many lawyers working on human rights issues, or other issues regarded as ‘sensitive’ by authorities, face disciplinary sanctions. This has a chilling effect on members of the legal profession, in a country where there is already very limited access to justice due to the small number of lawyers admitted to the Bar Association.

This mid-term review report urges the relevant authorities in Azerbaijan to stop unwarranted disbarment of lawyers.

This measure should be exceptionally applied because it prevents lawyers from exercising their profession permanently, thereby severely affecting a lawyer’s private life and ability to financially support themselves and their families. It also prevents their clients from having access to a legal representative of their own choosing.

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