Irvine, Calif. — For the last year, Hashmat Nadirpor, a rule of law expert and lawyer from Afghanistan, says he had no choice but to leave the country after the Taliban takeover. It was a decision he never thought he would have to make.

“Every time I was abroad for studying or doing some job, I went back to Afghanistan to make Afghanistan a better place to live,” Nadirpor said.

Now, through the Scholars At Risk program that helps professionals find work and refuge abroad, Nadirpor is working with University of California Irvine School of Law students and professor David Kaye to lead the Afghanistan Human Rights Project to highlight the current situation in the country.

“People are repressed by the government, women are marginalized. Minorities, they don’t have their basic rights and the humanitarian aid situation is even worse,” Nadirpor said.

Professor Kaye said students were digging into surveillance and censorship on social media, the status of independent journalism in the country, the treatment of women and LGBTQ communities and more.

“They are doing research, conducting interviews, working with Hashmat to connect with human rights activists around the world and in the United States who are working on problems of human rights compliance in Afghanistan and also problems that Afghan refugees are facing in the United States and elsewhere,” Kaye said.

For Nadirpor, it’s a push for justice for those still within Afghanistan’s borders.

“The hope is that we find ways to advocate for Afghans from outside the country and try to bring a change,” he said.