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February 20, 2024

Belarus: The Crisis of the Legal Profession Continued Repressions 2022-2023


This report was initiated by the American Bar Association Center for Human Rights (ABA CHR), the Belarusian Association of Human Rights Lawyers, and the Center for Constitutionalism and Human Rights of the European Humanities University. The report was prepared by human rights lawyers who, as a result of repressions, were deprived of their professional status in Belarus, but remain professionals who defend their clients in international bodies and promote the concept of human rights by all available means, making efforts aimed at restoring the legal profession and the right to defence in Belarus.

The report consists of several sections that provide data, specific examples and draw conclusions regarding how, during the period under review, the practice of law was obstructed through systematic violation of the professional rights of lawyers to access clients, confidentiality of communications with clients, and how lawyers’ basic guarantees – non-identification with clients, freedom from threats, harassment and intimidation, freedom of expression of professional opinion – were ignored. In addition, the report notes new trends in the implementation of disciplinary procedures and other methods of repression against lawyers and their removal from the profession. The report traces further regression of professional bar associations in Belarus and the devaluation of their core functions. As a result, the report demonstrates how these processes have affected the provision of legal assistance in Belarus and led to the fact that the right to defence is virtually impossible to realize under the given conditions in the country.

Read the report here (English) 

Читайте отчет здесь (Russian)

This report was prepared by staff and consultants of the American Bar Association, Center for Human Rights and reflects their views. It has not been approved by the House of Delegates or the Board of Governors of the American Bar Association and therefore should not be construed as representing the policy of the American Bar Association as a whole. Further, nothing in this report should be considered as legal advice in a specific case.