GENEVA (20 January 2023) – The collapse of the rule of law and judicial independence in Afghanistan is a human rights catastrophe, UN experts warned today. Ahead of the International Day of the Endangered Lawyer, the UN Special Rapporteurs on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan and the independence of judges and lawyers issued a joint statement and the following remarks:
“Lawyers, judges, prosecutors and other actors involved with the legal system in Afghanistan face grave risks to their safety, and those still practicing must navigate a deeply challenging, non-independent legal system.
Lawyers in Afghanistan — especially women — are risking their lives in efforts to protect the rule of law. They need urgent support from the international community.
We are gravely concerned by the extreme exclusion of women from the legal system. In an act of brazen discrimination, the Taliban have attempted to effectively ban all women—including women judges, prosecutors, and lawyers—from participating in the legal system.
Among those removed were more than 250 women judges and hundreds of women lawyers and prosecutors. Many women judges have fled the country or gone into hiding.