Prosecutors of Afghanistan’s former government who fled to Pakistan after the government’s collapse say that they have been living in limbo since August 15, 2021, and no countries will cooperate with them in handling their asylum cases.
The prosecutors held a protest gathering in Islamabad, calling on the international community to cooperate in issuing humanitarian visas.
After the Taliban takeover, Afghanistan’s judicial system fell apart and many human rights institutions were dismantled. Groups like Amnesty International identified Afghanistan’s prosecutors as being a high risk group for the Taliban retribution. Many judges and prosecutors sought immediate refuge across the border in Pakistan.
But they never planned to stay there, instead seeing it as a pathway to a third country. However, at the protest, they said that they are instead deprived of all their human rights. While they were effectively removed from their work and from public life out of fear by the de facto authorities in Afghanistan, they feel they were forced to leave and now are forgotten by the international community.
The protesters emphasized that they are in dire need of international support and due to international institutions’ negligence, they are stuck in uncertainty.
They called on the United Nations and its various institutions to address their legal status as refugees, not migrants, and stressed the need to resume refugee visas for them without exception.
The protestors criticised the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), saying that the group are ignoring them and have not accepted the group is at risk enough to assign them a category that receives international support.
The former prosecutors also said say that if UNHCR can guarantee that their lives, property, and human rights will remain safe in Afghanistan and that they will not be assaulted or harmed because of their work under the previous government, they are ready to return to Afghanistan.
The Afghan prosecutors residing in Pakistan say that they have sent an open letter to the Secretary General of the United Nations, the Human Rights Council of the United Nations, Amnesty International and other institutions and countries of the European Union and Canada and asked for their cooperation. But so far, with the exception of the Prime Minister of Canada, none of the officials of the international institutions or heads of the countries have responded to them.
They say that the indifference and silence of the international community puts them at more risk, and the lack of clear and decisive support discredits the rules and values of the international law they pertain to stand for, and potentially also strengthens the morale of those who use terror and oppression to rise to power.