Vance Center Recognized at the Human Rights Council

June 2022

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers Diego García Sayán recognized the Vance Center’s research on the protection of lawyers against undue interference in the free exercise of the legal profession in his report to the United Nations Human Rights Council. The Vance Center, along with Shearman & Sterling, supported the Special Rapporteur’s research on the international standards for the protection of lawyers and organized a regional consultation with lawyers from Latin America.

The research provided information on 1) the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders; 2) the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; 3) the Inter-American Commission and Court on Human Rights; 4) the African Commission and Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights; and 5) the Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Fair Trial and Legal Assistance in Africa.

In his report to the Human Rights Council, the Special Rapporteur addressed the issue of the protection of persons who practice law, since the free exercise of the legal profession is an indispensable element of the judicial guarantees that ensure a fair trial and the protection of human rights. The Special Rapporteur noted with concern a global increase in measures that undermine, restrict, and hinder the practice of law. This problem particularly affects lawyers focused on the fight against corruption, the defense of human rights, and the protection of groups in vulnerable situations.

The Special Rapporteur’s report identified trends and patterns of interference in and attacks on the legal profession. The Special Rapporteur stressed that persons who practice law play a fundamental role in the consolidation of the rule of law and the protection of human rights. States have a duty to guarantee that these persons can exercise their profession without undue restrictions. The Special Rapporteur concluded his report with recommendations to member States on how to protect persons practicing law.

The Human Rights Council resolution A/HRC/50/36 containing the report is available in English, Spanish, French, Chinese, Russian, and Arabic.