Women prosecutors fleeing the Taliban find asylum in Spain
STORY: “My name is Obaida Sharar. I am a woman from Afghanistan. Before the Taliban took power, I was a prosecutor.” Obaida Sharar once specialized in gender violence. Her work, and that of her colleagues, was dangerous in Afghanistan. return to power But she and many others say they feel abandoned by Western governments and international organizations. “This is very painful for us. We work for humanity. We work for the rule of law, we work for justice. But because of our work, because of our duty, because we work for humanity, now we are to blame. Now we have to flee our country, now we have to stay at home doing nothing, we have to cover our faces, wear a burqa or something else, because we are women.” Women’s rights in Afghanistan declined sharply in 2021 with the arrival of the Taliban. Since then, it has banned most female aid workers and prevented women and girls from attending secondary school and university. Women judges and prosecutors were threatened and became targets of revenge attacks while trying and sentencing men accused of gender-based crimes, including rape and murder. This prosecutor only gave the initials SM out of fear for her safety. prison, also from their families and warnings from my own family. Even my husband received threatening calls and calls from his family who tried to convince him to stop me because he was not a good example for his wives. His wives will learn me how to fight for their rights and they can put them in prison. My husband was an open-minded person.” SM and Sharar were part of a group of 32 female judges and prosecutors who left Afghanistan, only to be stuck in Pakistan for a year, trying to find asylum. Monika Frackowiak is a Polish judge who advocated for them. “They are very brave because, to become prosecutors in Afghanistan, that was very difficult for them and to become lawyers and activists, they had to struggle sometimes with members of their families, with colleagues, with the culture. And the terrible thing is that they were fighting for civilization in Afghanistan and now they seem to have been forgotten, so this is really terrible.” Ignacio Rodríguez says that women had been presented as symbols of democratic success… “The international community has manipulated the integration of women into the judicial system. They have presented it as an achievement, but when the Taliban have regained power, these women have been abandoned.” The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees told Reuters he was not in a position to comment on specific cases. And although she now feels safe with her asylum in Spain… Sharar says she can. t enjoy her new life knowing that the women at home continue to suffer. “I am free. Here I am safe. I can go anywhere. I can wear any type of dress I want. I can do what I want, but there are many women living in Afghanistan and they are sentenced to be inside their houses, inside the walls and this is not the case, I cannot enjoy my life because women in my country are not free. They can not do anything”.