The FBE supports all those in danger in Afghanistan. Since the capture of Kabul by the Taliban in 2021, the situation of lawyers, judges, and prosecutors in Afghanistan has worsened. Many were left stranded when Government evacuation efforts ended. The international legal community campaigns to persuade governments to rescue legal professionals at risk. However, most governments evacuated their own nationals and those who had been employed by the respective Government or related bodies. Most Afghan legal professionals did not fall into either category, even though they had served those Governments’ interests by upholding the rule of law in their country. Many were actively involved in the prosecution of members of the Taliban and are in great danger. The international legal community must act now to persuade more assistance to evacuate lawyers, prosecutors, judges and legal professionals at risk and to offer safe havens in their respective countries.
The FBE endorses the report of the Coalition for the Day of the Endangered Lawyer and urges all to implement recommendations in particular:
- The international community, in their diplomatic efforts toward the de facto authorities in Afghanistan, are urged to ensure the maintenance of a free and independent legal profession, in order to safeguard fundamental rights, including women’s rights, the independence and integrity of the administration of justice, and the rule of law.
- The international community is urged to take all necessary measures to ensure that the lawyers at risk who remain in Afghanistan can safely leave the country. In particular:
- To immediately implement evacuation and resettlement programmes for Afghan lawyers remaining in Afghanistan or located in neighboring countries.
- To ensure respect for the principle of non-refoulement at all times.
- To make humanitarian visas available to enable Afghan lawyers in need to access international protection legally and safely.
- To ensure that all States suspend deportations and summary returns of Afghan nationals to Afghanistan or third states.
- To ensure that all States thoroughly investigate allegations of ill-treatment of Afghan nationals, especially in the States’ border regions and in removal centers in their territories.
London: a Human Rights Solidarity and Arrested Lawyers Initiative action
Brussels (Facebook, CCBE – Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe )