United Nations: Afghanistan’s Alternative Report for the Universal Periodic Review

United Nations: Afghanistan’s Alternative Report for the Universal Periodic Review

The International Observatory for Lawyers in Danger is establishing itself on the international stage at the United Nations Human Rights Council.

The OIAD has submitted its first alternative report to the 46th session of the 4th cycle of the Universal Periodic Review on Afghanistan, in October 2023, on the subject of the legal profession engaged in the defence, protection and promotion of human rights in the country.

The Taliban takeover has led to a serious deterioration in the independence of the judiciary. The Afghan Bar Association is controlled by the authorities, and lawyers are subject to threats, persecution and arbitrary detention. Furthermore, the recommendations made to Afghanistan as part of the 3rd cycle of the Universal Periodic Review in 2019 have not been implemented at all.

In its alternative report, the Observatory focused on the protection of the independence of the judiciary, including the protection of Afghan lawyers. This protection took the form of recommendations, including the “guarantee of an independent judicial system in which lawyers can exercise their profession effectively“.

The OIAD also stressed the importance of Afghan women’s access to the legal profession, pointing to their exclusion from the new qualification process and from the Ministry of Justice premises. In addition to the deterioration in women’s rights under the Taliban regime, the Observatory emphasised the need to guarantee “women’s access to higher legal studies to make it possible for them to work in the legal profession.”

From the perspective of the legal profession, the OIAD strives to ensure that the Afghan population, subjected to the severe repression of the Taliban regime, has free access to justice.

Some recommendations have been duly taken into account by the Human Rights Council, particularly with regard to threats against lawyers. The rights of women to practise law were also highlighted and listed by the Council in the summary of stakeholders’ submissions.


Read the full report: