The Australian Association of Women Judges (AAWJ) joins with the many
international and national associations expressing their grave concerns about the
unfolding situation in Afghanistan, particularly for women and girls.
The AAWJ supports the efforts to evacuate Australian personnel and Afghan citizens
who worked alongside them. In addition, we urge the Australian Government to
consider the plight of women leaders, who have made substantial contributions to
their nation over the last 20 years and are at risk because of their roles and gender,
including women Judges.
Some 270 women serve as judges in Afghanistan. They have played a significant
part in developing the rule of law and respect for human rights, adding to the overall
capacity building in Afghanistan that Australia has supported as part of its mission
Members of the Afghan Women Judges Association report that they love their country
and do not want to leave. For some, though, the threats to their safety and that of their
families is overwhelming. They have good cause to be fearful. Two women judges were
murdered on the streets of Kabul on their way to court in January this year and many
have been subject to threats and intimidation, which we are told are ongoing.
The AAWJ joins with the International Association of Women Judges, the International
Association of Judges and the Australian Judicial Officers Association in their calls
for urgent, meaningful and sustained support for the judiciary in Afghanistan,
especially the women judges.
One meaningful step would be to offer humanitarian visas to women judges at risk
because of their role and gender. The AAWJ is encouraged by news this morning
that Minister Dutton is considering Humanitarian Visa Options for Prominent Women
and calls on the Australian Government to play a part in securing safe passage and
refuge for Afghan women Judges and their families who are facing this existential
Fleur Kingham Robyn Tupman
President of the AAWJ Secretary/Treasurer of the IAWJ