Human Rights and Protection of Lawyers

Protection of Lawyers - 2016 -2017 Activity Report

Between November 2016 and October 2017, the UIA-IROL’s Human Rights and Protection of Lawyers Committee addressed the following situations within the context of the "Protection of Lawyers":

  • Repeated and improper application and manipulation of systems in charge of granting and renewing professional licenses against lawyers, especially those involved in the defence of human rights and in sensitive cases.
  • Judicial harassment, combined with the identification of lawyers with their clients or the cause/case of their clients, either by the authorities or the public, especially when dealing with sensitive cases (terrorism, corruption, drug trafficking). For example, the use of anti-terrorism laws, in particular, is a repressive tool widely used against lawyers, whereby, interpreting these provisions broadly, the authorities go so far as to criminalise behaviours that are related to the pure defence of clients.
  • Attacks on the immunity of pleading, through disciplinary, civil and/or criminal proceedings, in particular by characterizing comments made by lawyers in the defence of their clients as defamatory and/or by prosecuting lawyers for “contempt of court” for making comments.
  • Different types of impediments to the defence in case of criminal proceedings against lawyers by reason of the practice of their profession.
  • Proceedings and/or attacks against lawyers in retaliation for their collaboration with various United Nations or regional mechanisms.
  • Attacks on the freedom of expression of lawyers, in particular through restrictions or sanctions on the use of the media and/or social networks to denounce human rights violations and malfunctions in the justice system; such measures are frequently used and increasingly so when elections approach.
  • The use of smear campaigns against the work done by lawyers, in particular through media and social networks, especially when their actions are intended to publicise mass violations of human rights or when their mode of action is through the use of international or regional systems for the protection of human rights.


Please find the Annual Report below.