Human Rights and Protection of Lawyers

December, 10 - Achieving the Recognition of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the Common Standard for Any Individual

The UN General Assembly proclaimed  December 10 as Human Rights Day in 1950, to bring attention to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the common standard of achievement for any inpidual. 

For the UIA, the role of lawyers as defenders of citizens’ rights and freedoms is fundamental in this achievement. 

Therefore each government whether nationally or as part on the international community should commit itself to enable lawyers to practice law in freedom and independence and protect them from any threats in the execution of their profession./p>

We know that when lawyers are prevented from fulfilling their professional duties, it is not only to the prejudice of their clients but also of the proper functioning of the rule of law and of justice itself. 

Equally there can be no Justice without an independent judiciary

The UIA urges lawyers, bar associations and international legal organizations, in their countries, abroad, and within the international arena including before international courts, to continue promoting the free exercise of the legal profession and the independence of the judiciary as essential means to uphold the rule of law, democracy and human rights. 

Those fundamental rights of the profession are recalled in a number of international and regional instruments on which each lawyer should be advised.

The United Nations adopted several texts on the protection of lawyers, judges and prosecutors as part of its universal instruments on the protection of Human Rights in the administration of justice. Those texts also address the duties of those professionals in the execution of their mandate. 

The Council of Europe and the African Commission on Human Rights also adopted such kind of texts. 

Those instruments can be found at the following links.


UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers 

UN Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary 

UN Guidelines on the Role of Prosecutors 


Recommendation Rec(2000)21 of the Committee of Ministers to Member States on the freedom of exercise of the profession of lawyer

Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)12  of the Committee of Ministers to member states on judges: independence, efficiency and responsibilities

Recommendation Rec(2000)19 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the role of public prosecution in the criminal justice system 

Recommendation Rec(2005)9 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the protection of witnesses and collaborators of justice 

African Commission 

Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Fair Trial and Legal Assistance in Africa, 2003