Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union ceases cooperation with authorities of National Association of Advocates of Ukraine

The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union is outraged by another episode of suppression of freedom of expression in the Advocacy of Ukraine. UHHRU expressed its concern with attempts of the management of the National Association of Advocates of Ukraine to bring the Director of the Coordinating Centre for Legal Aid Providing, Andrii Vyshnevskyi, to disciplinary responsibility for his expressing thoughts and judgements with regards to the situation in the Advocacy.

10 September 2015, the Qualification-Disciplinary Commission of the Advocacy of the Region of Kyiv approved the decision by which it revoked the lawyer Vyshnevskyi his right for Advocacy. That was the way the management of the NAAU found appropriate in concluding their public argument with the lawyer Vyshnevskyi: by resorting to the disciplinary punishment and revoking the latter the right for profession based on his disagreement with the views and mode of thought of the management of the association.

We believe that resorting to disciplinary responsibility for proving justice or injustice of any views is inacceptable in a democratic society. Such methods look especially disgusting when they are used by the Advocacy for suppression of the view that the management of the Advocacy administration does not like.

We see this decision as one of the most outrageous violations of the right for freedom of expression. The blatant neglecting one of the fundamental human rights by the management of the Ukrainian Advocacy and systematic attempts to supress an open discussion in the Advocacy give cause for grave concern regarding the ability of the lawyers’ community to carry of their mission, namely, to be the guards of human rights and freedoms and protect a person from organised arbitrariness.

Unfortunately, the developments in the Advocacy since 2013 reveal that they try to turn the Advocacy into the field of unanimous opinions and obedience. We believe that a civil society has the right to expect quite opposite qualities and virtues from the Advocacy.

Considering the systematic and purposeful nature of the actions of the management of the NAAU for more than two years, which are inconsistent with democratic principles and main fundamental human rights principles, UHHRU claims it is unacceptable for the Union to have any cooperation with authorities of the National Association of Advocates of Ukraine.

UHHRU also expresses its support to the advocates affected by such arbitrary actions and its readiness to provide legal aid to the lawyers whose rights were violated by the actions or decisions of authorities of the National Association of Advocates of Ukraine.

Mykola Kozyriev, Chairman of the Management Board of UHHRU

Arkadii Bushchenko, Executive Director of UHHRU

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