5 April 20233 minute read

Supporting Afghan Women Judges in Crisis

Inaugural DLA Piper Pro Bono LeadHer Award Presented to IAWJ Afghan Support Committee

The International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ) Afghan Support Committee has worked tirelessly to provide advice, support, and more to Afghan women judges. The IAWJ, an independent organization that has operated for over 20 years, is made up of judges from around the world who are committed to serving one another. When the Taliban began to take over Kabul after the US withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021, women judges there were in grave danger. The IAWJ swiftly established an Afghan Support Committee to aid the more than 250 Afghan members. IAWJ stepped up to help these judges resettle in other countries safely. DLA Piper worked with the committee and other firms to coordinate legal services for more than 150 Afghan judges and their families as they fled persecution by the Taliban.

In recognition of this critical work, DLA Piper awarded IAWJ the firm’s inaugural DLA Piper Pro Bono LeadHer Award. This award, presented at the firm’s Global Women’s Leadership Summit in Chicago on September 20, 2022, recognizes the IAWJ’s extraordinary efforts on behalf of women judges who were forced to flee Afghanistan. Judge Vanessa Ruiz, Senior Associate Judge of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals and former IAWJ President, accepted the honor on behalf of the association.

“It is an honor to bestow the inaugural LeadHer award on Judge Ruiz and the IAWJ Afghan Support Committee,” said Lisa Dewey, US Pro Bono Partner for DLA Piper. “The Afghan Support Committee embodies the essence of the award, and DLA Piper is proud to shine a spotlight on the incredible work done by this organization.”

The IAWJ Afghan Support Committee includes the Honorable Susan Glazebrook (Supreme Court of New Zealand/Te Koti Mana Nui); Honorable Robyn Tupman (District Court of New South Wales, Australia); Honorable Vanessa Ruiz (Senior Judge, District of Columbia Court of Appeals); Honorable Patricia Whalen (former international judge, War Crimes Chamber of Bosnia and Herzegovina); Honorable Glòria Poyatos Matas (High Court of Canary Islands (Appellate Court, Labor)); Honorable Mona Lynch (Nova Scotia Supreme Court, Canada); and Honorable Anisa Dhanji (Courts & Tribunals, UK).

To learn more about the work of the IAWJ committee and directly from the women served, check out this video: Here