The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated markedly since the Taliban toppled Kabul on 15 August, with lawyers and judges increasingly under threat. The legal profession came under a renewed attack 100 days later as Taliban forces stormed the offices of the country’s only bar association and detained and threatened its members and staff.
The attack on the offices of the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association (AIBA) took place during an extraordinary meeting of AIBA’s Leadership Council on 23 November. Najla Raheel, AIBA’s Vice-President, was attending the meeting virtually when the line went dead. She learned later that armed Taliban had entered the building, closed the offices, tore down nameplates and demanded her colleagues hand over all of AIBA’s goods and documents. ‘We built the Association with the blood of our hearts,’ she told Global Insight. ‘Now my colleagues, who include women, are in a very bad situation. The Taliban may harm them and their families at any moment.’
Raheel and AIBA President, Ruhullah Qarizada, are two of the AIBA Executive team that have managed to flee Afghanistan with their families. The Taliban announced that the AIBA will be merged with the Ministry of Justice and has appointed one of its own leaders as president, effectively stripping the association of any independence.
COP26 has refocused the world’s attention on climate action. And the continuing flurry of litigation suggests citizens are now more serious than ever about pressing those in positions of power to address the climate crisis.
Two weeks before COP26, a small NGO was already taking matters into its own hands, filing a claim at the International Criminal Court (ICC) to end impunity for environmental destruction in the Amazon.
The complaint, submitted by Austrian NGO AllRise on 12 October, accuses Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and his administration of committing crimes against humanity for their role in fuelling ‘the mass destruction of the Amazon with eyes wide open and in full knowledge of the consequences.’ Bolsonaro, who has been the subject of three previous ICC complaints since he assumed office in early 2019, denies all wrongdoing.
As final preparations are being made for the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, there are serious concerns that undue influence and conflicts of interest are undermining the global effort to combat the climate crisis. Leaked documents have revealed how a handful of fossil-fuel producing nations have been attempting to influence the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to water down its draft recommendations on steps needed to address the crisis. Tens of thousands of comments by governments, corporations, academics and others were leaked to Greenpeace UK.
An IPCC spokesperson said its processes were ‘designed to guard against lobbying – from all quarters’. However, the leak illustrates how influence ‘can be exerted behind closed doors, including to manipulate science,’ says Brice Böhmer, who leads Transparency International’s work on climate governance integrity. Although not new, when countries are ‘running out of time to solve the climate crisis’, he says such practices ‘are not acceptable anymore’.
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