The Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) is to grant an exceptional Human Rights Award 2021 to endangered lawyers in Afghanistan.
The organisation says that the decision was made to raise awareness of what it describes as “the urgent need” to provide adequate protection to lawyers in the country.
The Taliban took control of Afghanistan in August, and the CCBE says that many Afghan lawyers are being particularly targeted due to their role in defending Afghan citizens’ basic rights.
“The Afghanistan Independent Bar Association has been closed by the new regime, making the independent exercise of the legal profession no longer possible,” it points out.
Female lawyers at risk
The lawyers’ organisation adds that members of the profession are not only being targeted by the new regime, but also by prisoners who have been released following the Taliban takeover.
“Female lawyers are particularly at risk, and are being deprived of their basic rights – including the right to exercise their legitimate activities as a lawyer – out of fear of serious reprisals,” the CCBE states.
CCBE president Margarete von Galen (pictured) stresses the dangers face by female lawyers who represented clients in cases where released prisoners were convicted.
“Currently, about 200 female lawyers are faced with life-threatening risks base on their legitimate activities,” she says.
The exceptional award will be granted at the CCBE plenary session in Berlin on 10 December.