The Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN), PILnet, the Asia Pacific Network of Refugees (APNOR) and AMERA International are pleased to launch a series of legal information sheets in English and Dari for Afghans seeking legal assistance in or relocation to a number of countries.
APRRN, PILnet, APNOR and AMERA are unable to provide direct legal assistance or referrals, but please see below for alternative resources and support.
Each legal information sheet provides a consolidated list of legal options, verified and dated, available to Afghans already in the country; to those with family members in the country; and to those wishing to relocate due to risk of harm; as well as a list of organizations providing free legal assistance and other useful resources.
Immediately following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021, Asia Pacific Network of Refugees (APNOR), the Global Refugee Network (MENA), PILnet and other partners organized an urgent consultation on meeting legal needs arising from the Afghanistan situation. During this event the need for clear and concise information on legal aid and legal pathways available to Afghans emerged as a priority area.
The international legal community, the ATLAS Women, were pivotal in the early stages of the crisis, mobilizing their network of lawyers on the ground to provide urgent legal assistance to Afghan women and their families. Building upon this work and to respond to evolving legal needs, PILnet, ATLAS Women, APRRN, AMERA, the Leitner Center, and a number of partners began developing legal information sheets on available legal aid and routes into different countries around the world. This work was made possible thanks to support from Herbert Smith Freehills, which seconded two members of staff to PILnet to support this and other refugee rights projects.
Over a year on and such information remains more important than ever. Since March 2022, the Taliban have systematically denied women access to education and public life. Over the course of the last year, girls have been shut out of primary schools, secondary schools and universities, culminating in the minister for higher education announcing the suspension of women’s education until further notice. In late December, the Taliban also announced an order banning women from working for local and international NGOs in Afghanistan. These actions by the Taliban leave millions of Afghans in need of legal assistance. With a number of collaborative projects between NGOs and law firms now in place across Europe to provide additional free legal support and services, the sheets aim to simplify and explain the ecosystem of legal assistance in these and other countries.
Further information is available via APRRN’s webpage, APRRN Information on Afghanistan. This page provides updated information on legal routes, employment opportunities, education, psychosocial services and other support available to those in Afghanistan or abroad. Additional support can be found on APRRN’s corresponding Facebook page.
If you are an asylum-seeker, refugee or stateless person, local legal aid providers will be best placed to initially assess and generally address your legal needs. In addition to the contact details found in the country memos, you can find further details about local legal aid providers in the countries covered on the country pages of AMERA’s Rights in Exile platform.
If you are an organization working with Afghans that needs personalized legal assistance or are looking to develop a pro bono partnership to expand the work you are doing, PILnet can connect you with a qualified pro bono lawyer or help you to build a collaborative pro bono partnership with multiple law firms, at no cost. Additionally, following the Taliban’s ban on Afghan women working for NGOs, the Global Nonprofits Guide can assist NGOs needing to relocate.
The information contained on this website and the legal information sheets is part of a collaborative research project on available legal pathways for Afghan asylum seekers. Organizations participating in this research are not liable toward third parties for the accuracy of the information contained in this guide. The documents are not intended to provide, nor should it be relied on, as legal advice. If you would like further information about this project or have any suggestions, corrections or questions regarding the memorandums please contact [email protected].