IAPL: Interview: Human Rights Lawyer Ewelina U. Ochab on Fighting for Afghanistan’s Women Judges, Lawyers

Dr. Ewelina U. Ochab is a lawyer, human rights advocate, and author, as well as a co-founder of the Coalition for Genocide Response. She has collaborated with international and domestic partners to provide legal assistance to women at risk in Afghanistan and has been involved in evacuating 103 women at risk from the country. In March 2023, Dr. Ochab joined the international campaign “End Gender Apartheid” to raise awareness about gender apartheid against women and girls in Afghanistan and Iran. Additionally, she is the lead author of the Hazara Inquiry report, a joint effort of cross-party Parliamentarians from both Houses and experts working together to uncover atrocities and promote justice for the Hazara people in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Dr. Ochab’s work primarily focuses on the topic of genocide, particularly the persecution of minorities worldwide.

Maryam — a pseudonym for a women’s rights activist and JURIST contributor based in Afghanistan, who has requested to remain anonymous due to fears for her safety — interviewed Dr. Ochab to discuss her involvement in helping female judges flee Afghanistan and the legal assistance she provided to them.

How many female Afghan judges have been relocated to the UK through your efforts?

Through our collaborative initiative involving the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute, led by Baroness Kennedy KC, Emily Foale, and myself, we successfully evacuated seven female Afghan judges to the UK. In total, we evacuated 103 at-risk women and their family members, amounting to approximately 500 individuals. The majority were resettled in Canada, with others in Australia, Ireland, Germany, and a few other countries.

What type of work are relocated Afghan women judges pursuing in the UK? Is it possible for them to have a legal career in the UK?

In the UK, these relocated judges are receiving support to help them find their footing in the local legal profession. Breaking Barriers, for example, is one organization offering crucial assistance. They help with language learning, CV writing, interview preparation, and training in various transferable skills.

Some of these judges have already joined law firms or are pursuing further law degrees. They’re also actively engaging with the UK Parliament and Government on behalf of women in the legal profession who were left behind. This involvement has included attending parliamentary briefings and meetings, even at the prestigious Number 10.











https://www.jrf.org.tw/articles/2440 (MANDARIN)