Threats to the rule of law in Turkey, Poland, Hungary, Azerbaijan and South Sudan (UN statement)

The ICJ today highlighted threats to the rule of law in Turkey, Poland, Hungary and Azerbaijan, and the need to address corporate complicity in South Sudan, at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.The statement, delivered during general debate, read as follows:

“The situation remains grave for the rule of law and legal protection of human rights in Turkey and Poland.

In Turkey, constitutional reforms in 2017 that undermined the independence of the judiciary should be abolished. Civil society members are prosecuted under overbroad and vague terrorism offences.

In Poland, the Legislature is trying arbitrarily to remove one third of the Supreme Court, a measure that is on hold only temporarily. Unjustified disciplinary proceedings are also being pursued against Polish judges for having sought a ruling of the Court of Justice of the EU.

Elsewhere, in Hungary civil society is ostracized and subject to legislation that risks criminalizing their legitimate activities. In Azerbaijan, as one example of a broader pattern of interference with lawyers and other human rights defenders, lawyer Elchin Sadigov was reprimanded for advising in a confidential manner to his client in detention to complain about torture to which he allegedly had been subjected.

The ICJ is also concerned at the findings by the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan (A/HRC/40/69, A/HRC/40/CRP.1) that point to the oil industry as a “major driver” in the continuation of the armed conflict and resulting human rights violations. Potential corporate complicity with crimes under international law demand investigation and a strong monitoring mechanism for the use of oil revenues should be established.”

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