On April 4-5, 2023 International Scientific and Practical Conference “Lawyers for the Rule of Law. Strengthening the Impact of Education on Justice. Restoring the right to defense in new realities, and the human rights lawyers’ right to Association” took place in Vilnius.
Organizers and Partners were the Center for Constitutionalism and Human Rights, European Humanities University; International Law in Advocacy – ILIA; University without Borders; Belarusian Human Rights House. Our Association was represented by its President Maria Ślązak, who addressed the audience in the first panel “European instrument on the protection of lawyers and lawyers’ associations: status and a search for answers to the main questions”. The considerations of organizers concentrated on the necessity of creating safe conditions of work for human rights lawyers, especially in countries where bars are not independent. Human rights defenders hope very much that they will also be included in the future Convention on Protection of Lawyers.
The second panel of the Conference: “An Association of independent lawyers: the Voice of Belarusian Lawyers and a Search for normative instruments for the professional guarantees realization” was dedicated to the situation of Belarusian lawyers who suffer much harassment from their government. In consequence, many of them left the country to avoid arrests, imprisonment, or danger to their families. The group of Belarusian colleagues, who emigrated, established the independent association of lawyers. To express the support for the Belarusian lawyers three AEA-EAL’s Board Members were present at this panel: Monique Stengel from Paris, a member of AEA-EAL Human Rights Committee, Olivier d’Ursel from Brussels, who at the same time represented the Human Rights Institute of the Brussels French Speaking Bar and Nielson Sanchez Stewart, Spanish lawyer, who passed on behalf of Abogacia Espanola Consejo General words of condemnation for repressions towards Belarussian colleagues.
The event in Vilnius continues the scientific and practical cooperation of civil society organizations, professional associations of lawyers, international organizations, and academic institutions focused on the implementation of the principle of the rule of law, and especially the protection of human rights. The project “Lawyers for the Rule of Law: Human Rights Training and Education”, continued for more than a decade, concentrates on the educational activities of experts and alumni of the Center for Constitutionalism and Human Rights which cooperates with the International Law in Advocacy (ILIA) and the University Without Borders.