The UN Sunday called for the reinstatement of women lawyers and judges who have been fired from their roles under Taliban rule. Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) Roza Otunbayeva met with founding Taliban Minister Abdul Hakim Sharai Sunday and urged him to renew licenses for women layers as well as men.
In her meeting with Sharai, Otunbayeva highlighted the importance of women lawyers and judges in society, “whose expertise remains critical for enabling equitable access to justice for Afghan women and children.” Women’s freedom in Afghanistan has been severely restricted since the Taliban took over the country in September 2021. While 1,300 men defense lawyers have had their licenses renewed, at least 250 judges and many women lawyers have been fired, according to the UN.
Prior to the Taliban’s rule, a significant number of women made up the legal system and were trained and educated in order to take on positions of judges, prosecutors and defense lawyers. However, the Taliban have taken many steps to limit women’s opportunities in Afghanistan, and women have now been banned from secondary schools and universities, as well as non-governmental organization (NGO) jobs.
The UN has previously called for “authorities in the country to take immediate steps to end violence against women and the broader deterioration of women’s rights” and continue to advocate for the reinstatement of women’s freedoms in Afghanistan.