We use cookies to collect and analyse information on site performance and usage to improve and customise your experience, where applicable. View our Cookies Policy. Click Accept and continue to use our website or Manage to review and update your preferences.

IBA’s ‘profound concern’ over Pakistan’s call
Pic: Shutterstock

29 Nov 2023 / human rights Print

IBA’s ‘profound concern’ over Pakistan’s call

The International Bar Association (IBA) and the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) have expressed “profound concern” over the government of Pakistan’s instruction for all Afghan refugees to leave the country by 1 November 2023.

The organisations say that the call has come with the threat of fines, punishment, imprisonment and deportation to other countries.

They describe the decision as “a grave breach of the absolute and non-derogable principle of non-refoulement".

UN recommendations

It has been reported that 360,000 Afghans have been forced to return to their country of origin since mid-September.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has urged all states to refrain from forced deportations to Afghanistan, due to the deteriorating situation in the country.

The IBA and its human-rights arm, however, say that Pakistan's police are acting against these recommendations, by harassing Afghans, issuing negative decisions for asylum-seekers, and searching their residences without judicial orders.

Lawyers arrested

They add that the Pakistan authorities’ decision also poses “a severe risk” to the lives and wellbeing of human-rights defenders, journalists and legal professionals.

“The Afghanistan Independent Bar Association in Exile (AIBAIE) has informed the IBAHRI that five female lawyers have been arrested by the Pakistani government and are currently incarcerated.

“In addition, the International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ) has reported there remain 20 Afghan female Judges in Pakistan, now facing the imminent risk of deportation to Afghanistan.”

IBAHRI director Helena Kennedy KC urged Pakistan to comply with its obligations under the Convention against Torture, to uphold the principle of non-refoulement and treat everyone with dignity.

"The international community must step in to call for an end to the mass deportations and provide safe pathways for those in most grave danger,” she stated.

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