On 24 January every year, the international legal community celebrates the Day of the Endangered Lawyer. It is an occasion aimed at drawing global attention to the Lawyers worldwide who every day risk their professional and personal safety, while accomplishing the high mission to protect the fundamental rights of the persons they advise and assist.

In 2021, the focus is on Azerbaijan.

While in the years after gaining independence in 1991 Azerbaijan ratified the most important international and European human rights treaties, continuing human rights violations have been noted by committees of the UN, by the Council of Europe and by non-governmental organizations. Serious human rights violations have also affected the Azerbaijani lawyers who represented the victims of such human rights violations and spoke up about torture and ill-treatment in police custody.

The persecution of independent lawyers and their subjection to harassment, criminal prosecution and disbarment by the Azerbaijan authorities has intensified in recent years. Such sanctions are intended to restrict their ability to take on high profile and politically ‘sensitive’ cases, especially those concerning human rights violations.

The European Lawyers’ Union (U.A.E.), which promotes inter alia the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, expresses its deep support and solidarity to Colleagues in Azerbaijan and it will continue its efforts for the affirmation of the supremacy of the Rule of Law.