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Appeal to legal profession to help Afghan arrivals
Mr Justice David Barniville Pic: RollingNews.ie

08 Oct 2021 / human rights Print

Appeal to legal profession to help Afghan arrivals

Professionals and organisations across the legal sector have been asked for pledges of support for their judicial and legal colleagues who have fled Afghanistan after the Taliban’s takeover of the country.

A number of organisations have come together to make the appeal, saying that female lawyers and judges have been particularly targeted since August, as the Taliban seeks to enforce its regime on those who played an active role in the Afghan state.

Retribution is being sought by the Taliban on those who were involved in previous judicial and legal matters,” the statement said.

The coalition of groups involved in the initiative includes the Law Society, The Association of Judges, Bar of Ireland, International Association of Women Judges, and Irish Rule of Law. The move is also being backed by Government, and agencies such as Red Cross and the Irish Refugee Protection Programme.

Community sponsorship

The organisations say that they have constructed a pathway for colleagues to provide help in the areas of housing, funding, and collegiate support, using the ‘community sponsorship’ model.

This involves colleagues in the receiving states effectively wrapping around arriving families who share a common profession. This model is currently in place in Ireland for journalists and professional athletes arriving here.

The coalition has issued a request for offers of appropriate accommodation for a period of 12 months, to cater for up to 11 families who are currently fleeing Afghanistan.

Legal professionals are invited to register availability of own-door housing for families, many of which include children.

Pledges being accepted

A separate Justice Community Support Fund is also accepting pledges, to assist in housing, schooling and the wider integration process.

Launching the initiative, Mr Justice David Barniville (president of The Association of Judges of Ireland, pictured) said: “I am asking all judges and members of the legal community in Ireland to respond to this call for support for our Afghan judicial colleagues.”

President of the Law Society of Ireland James Cahill said: “Despite the enormous challenges faced in recent months, I am confident that a warm welcome awaits these judges and their families.

“I encourage colleagues to respond to this urgent and important call to action,” he added.

Maura McNally SC (chair of the Bar of Ireland) endorsed the initiative, saying that those affected were colleagues, whose increased risk was premised on their gender.

Judge Elizabeth Dunne (chair of the Irish chapter of International Association of Women Judges) said that the plight of women judges in Afghanistan required “all of us to do what we can to help those affected as much as possible”.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland