We, the undersigned, are a group of Canadian national and regional law firms with offices and operations across the country. Together with all Canadians, we take pride in the transparency, efficacy, and functionality of our legal order. In this letter, we seek the extension of those very principles to Afghans who equally sought to uphold the rule of law and democracy in their country.
In August 2021, as news spread of the Taliban’s rapid advance across Afghanistan, many Canadians were alarmed by the stories of fear and desperation among Afghans. The hasty evacuation of Kabul compounded the concern felt by Canadians who watched Afghans, many of whom had supported Canada and its allies for two decades, fall under the unchecked control of the Taliban.
Governments around the world have struggled to respond to the humanitarian crisis triggered by the resurgent Taliban and its renewed control over Afghanistan. Many vulnerable Afghans remain in hiding while others languish in precarious and untenable circumstances abroad with no clear pathway to secure resettlement. Recent reports indicate that the Taliban now has access to government and legal records disclosing information about lawyers, judges, and other individuals who worked alongside Canada and its allies.
As leaders of the Canadian legal community, we sought to respond meaningfully to the crisis in Afghanistan through a variety of initiatives. Staff members and lawyers at many law firms have conducted interviews with vulnerable Afghans and assembled, submitted, and pursued their applications for evacuation and resettlement in Canada.
We must do more.
Read the open letter here