International Bar Association expresses concern on Taliban takeover of Afghanistan bar association

Taliban takeover threatens independence of legal profession in Afghanistan: IBA

International Bar Association expresses concern on Taliban takeover of Afghanistan bar association

The International Bar Association (IBA) has urged the United Nations to denounce and intervene in the Taliban takeover of the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association (AIBA) which took place during a leadership council meeting in November 2021.

In an open letter to UN Secretary-General António Guterres, the IBA wrote that the Taliban takeover of the AIBA violates an important principle under the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, which states that “lawyers must be able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference.”

The IBA requested the UN to issue a public statement condemning the violation of the independence of the legal profession in Afghanistan and the seizure of the AIBA’s database, bank account and funds.  

“The incorporation of the AIBA into the Taliban’s Minister of Justice has completely compromised the independence of the legal profession in Afghanistan,” the IBA wrote.

As a result of the takeover, the Taliban has gained access to the AIBA’s database that contains the personnel and professional records of 2,500 Afghan lawyers, staff, and committee members. The Taliban has also taken control of the AIBA’s bank account and funds.

“There is much concern for the personal safety of all who are on the database,” the IBA wrote. “Now that the Taliban is furnished with details of cases and home addresses, anxieties are further heightened.”

“To keep safe, families have been changing accommodation frequently, but there are only so many times people are able to do this with young families,” IBA added.

Established in 2008, AIBA is a non-governmental organization which promotes and protects the rule of law, social justice, and implementation of Islamic instructions in Afghanistan.

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