New IBAHRI report calls for greater involvement of the legal profession in UN human rights mechanisms

On 17 March ILAC co-sponsered the launch of the The IBAHRI report ‘The role of the Universal Periodic Review in advancing human rights in the administration of justice’.  The event took place inside the Palais des Nations, where the Human Rights Council was having its annual March sitting.
The Report looks at the impact on legal professionals of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) processes set up by the Human Rights Council. Through an analysis of references to legal professionals in the recommendations from the first 19 sessions held of the UPR the report provides guidance aiming to strengthen the dialogue between states and the legal profession for greater future effectiveness, including:

To recommending states:

  • Consider the separation of powers and the independence of legal professionals as priority issues to be addressed at the UPR as a necessary requisite for the protection of all human rights.
  • Call for judges, prosecutors and lawyers to be recognised as subjects of specific protection measures to ensure that they carry out their professional duties without any external or internal interference.
  • Call for a national independent, self-governed and self-regulatory bar association to be the primary institution charged with protecting the legal profession and fostering lawyers’ engagement in the protection of the rule of law and human rights.

To states under review

  • Involve the judiciary and professional organisations of lawyers in the implementation and monitoring of international human rights recommendations, including the UPR recommendations, especially relating to the administration of justice and legal reforms.

To lawyers and lawyers’ associations

  • Monitor the independence of the judiciary and independence of lawyers and prosecutors in their country and take part in the UPR process.

At the launch, a high level panel debated the role of the legal profession in the protection of human rights in the national context and the manner in which they could interact with and impact upon the international framework for the advancement of the promotion and protection of human rights.