Law Student Conference: Young Lawyers and the Future of Human Rights in Azerbaijan

Sunday 31 December 2018

The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders published his report on his visit to Azerbaijan in February 2017. He noted the use of ‘inflammatory language by senior government officials’ to describe human rights defenders and the ‘stigmatizing impact’ this has had on civil society1. Human rights ‘defenders, journalists, lawyers and grassroots activists’ are also allegedly frequently subject to arbitrary arrests and travel bans.

Regrettably, this systematic dismantling of civil society in Azerbaijan and declining value of legal education has resulted in few law students graduating with a strong desire to engage in human rights work. The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) has been working with local human rights lawyers and institutions to try to invigorate passion for human rights law among young people. In December 2017, the IBAHRI and Khazar University held the Law Student Conference, discussing the role of young lawyers in building a better Azerbaijan with greater respect for human rights.