Afghanistan – Some good news and an appeal by the President of the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association

From the IBA...

Dear Friend

We are writing to update you on the evacuation and resettlement efforts relating to the 15 Afghan individuals at risk of persecution and retribution by the current regime in Afghanistan because of their work related to protecting and promoting the rule of law and human rights under the auspices of the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association (Afghan Bar), which was established in 2008 by the IBA in consultation with Afghan lawyers. Also, appended, beneath the signatures, is a letter to you from the President of the Afghan Bar, Ruhullah Qarizada.

Of the 15 individuals and their young families, nine have been evacuated to Albania, Canada, Dubai, France, Greece and the United Kingdom. Their statuses of resettlement to third countries differ, but they are out of immediate danger and are receiving government patronage in those countries.

Four families have additionally been evacuated to Pakistan. The Pakistani authorities are not providing support to these families. Currently, the IBA is funding their accommodation, food, water, clothing and healthcare as well as visa extensions.

The last two families that make up the 15 are preparing to leave Afghanistan and make a treacherous journey overland to Pakistan as the situation worsens in Afghanistan. Their visas require funding as will their accommodation etc in Pakistan. In one of the families there has also been a recent birth.

For the last six mentioned families, either in or on their way to Pakistan, we are appealing for contributions towards the upkeep of these colleagues as resettlement plans are realised. These Afghan Bar colleagues have lost their livelihoods, homes and connections to their extended families. Their children have not been able to attend school since they went into hiding following the withdrawal of the United States, the United Kingdom and other allies in August 2021.

Lives have been shattered and dreams stalled. Compassion and practical assistance are needed. We are grateful to the IBA Member Organisations who contributed to the initial appeal. Thank you. But we are hopeful that funds and the list of contributors can be expanded.

Furthermore, women’s rights have been eroded at great speed. The most recent diktat handed down by the ruling Taliban is that women must be covered from head to toe and not travel outside of their homes without a male member of the family. Women have been barred from attending places of education and jobs and, because of the deteriorating economic situation, girls have been sold or forced into early ‘marriages’ to provide to generate income for families. In short, girls and women have been pushed into submission.

Thus far, the response to this fundraising initiative has not been as complete as we would like. Two hundred of the world’s Bar Associations/Law Societies constitute the IBA, but only a few have responded to calls for assistance. We are certain that a better response rate is possible. It may be the case that you provided a direct humanitarian response at the start of the crisis, but please aware that the crisis is ongoing. If your organisation has thus far not donated, please consider doing so without delay.

It is appreciated that you may have processes in place that involve some administrative challenges before funds can be released but, please try to find a way to give.

All contributions, regardless of amount, are very welcome. Please send remittances marked ‘Displaced BAR members fund’ to the NatWest bank account below and an email to Afghanistan.Donations@int-bar.org for acknowledgement of your contribution.

NAME: INTERNATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATION
ACCOUNT: 01286498
IBAN: GB55 NWBK 6073 0101 2864 98
BIC: NWBKGB2L
CURRENCY: USD

NAME: INTERNATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATION
ACCOUNT: 06570631
IBAN: GB58 NWBK 6072 1106 5706 31
BIC: NWBKGB2L
CURRENCY: EUR

NAME: INTERNATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATION
SORT CODE: 560003
ACCOUNT: 13270222
IBAN: GB05 NWBK 5600 0313 2702 22
BIC: NWBKGB2L
CURRENCY: GBP

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia has undoubtedly shifted international focus away from Afghanistan, but the Afghans are still in great need. Reports received from contacts in Afghanistan speak of cruelties taking place that do not appear in news bulletins.

Please click here to read the full IBA email, including a personal plea from the President of the Afghan Bar.

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