Supporting Afghanistan’s Judges (Update)

We at 3VB, and the IBAHRI, are very grateful indeed for the wide support for, and interest in, the project to evacuate and help resettle Afghan Judges and their families. Dr Ochab, who is running the programme at the IBAHRI, has provided us with an update. There is plenty of good news, but there also remains a critical need for funds to manage the evacuation of some 30 more at risk families from Afghanistan and to provide for the continued costs of sheltering and resettling those who have already left.

Of the families still in Athens (the “lilypad” interim destination), Canada has committed to take 50 families and Australia 12. But the resettlement process is lengthy and, while their accommodation costs are now being met by the Greek government, there remains a need for funding of other living expenses over the period of around 6 months which resettlement may take. The present need is circa £3,000 per month to help with some ad-hoc needs of the families. The funding gap is estimated to be some $500,000.

There are now six IBAHRI evacuated Judges (and Prosecutors), with their families, in the UK, and intending (the Home Office allowing) to settle here. There has been a good response from universities and other institutions to efforts to provide academic and educational opportunities for the Judges and their children, but all offers of and ideas for assistance – including to make their continued required residence in designated government-funded facilities (actually quite decent) more enjoyable – will be welcome. It is also hoped to bring the 2 sons of one of the Judges murdered last year to the UK. Those who listened to Helena Kennedy’s World at One interview in November will have heard one of them, Wali, speak of his and his family’s own situation. They both wish to study medicine here.

Critically, there remain Judges and Prosecutors at real and imminent risk in Afghanistan. Some 30 individuals have been identified for whom evacuation with their families is imperative. That requires a further evacuation flight (estimated cost $800,000). Anyone reading this who knows or can think of ways in which such an amount might be raised, or individuals or institutions worth approaching, is encouraged to contact Dr Ochab. Anyone in any doubt about the threats posed, and the continued elimination of women and girls from Afghan public life is encouraged to read the recent UNHR statement on the subject – see here.

For those looking for further information about the project, We recommend watching the IBAHRI December 2021 webinar here. This is chaired by Dr Ochab, and includes contributions from Helena Kennedy, one of the UK-based Judges, and other experts on the present crisis. The recent UK Government Guidance on the “Afghan citizens resettlement scheme” may also be of interest.

Meantime, contact details remain the same: Dr Ewelina Ochab at the IBAHRI (Ewelina.Ochab@int-bar.org); at 3VB, Charlotte Eborall (Chair of our CSR Committee – ceborall@3vb.com), Christopher Bond (member of Combar’s Executive Committee – cbond@3vb.com), Ali Malek QC (am@3vb.com) and Andrew Onslow QC (aonslow@3vb.com); plus Jane Davies Evans (jde@3vb.com), vice-Chair of 3VB’s International Advisory & Dispute Resolution Unit (IADRU).