Afghan justice system the focus of UN-backed radio debate in Farah

20 Dec 2016

Afghan justice system the focus of UN-backed radio debate in Farah

FARAH - The most effective way to improve justice services for all Afghans was debated by an expert panel at a UN-backed radio broadcast in Farah province this week.

The radio debate, led by a panel of representatives from the government, civil society and legal professions, drew a studio audience of around 30 people, including university students, lecturers, lawyers and human rights advocates.

“To increase the level of trust among citizens and the Afghan government, the rule of law at the local level should be implemented effectively,” said Mohammad Khan, a Farah lawyer and one of the members of the radio panel organized by the regional office of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the province’s Gharjistan Higher Education Institute.

“One of the issues the justice institutions are not focusing on in Farah is the importance of defendants’ rights,” said Naghibullah Nikmal, another panellist. “If we want to ensure the rule of law and administration of justice, we should respect the rights of defendants and treat them on the basis of human rights principles.”

According to the Afghan Constitution, the citizens of Afghanistan have equal rights and duties before the law, and can serve in the government, including in justice institutions, to promote, uphold and protect the rights of citizens.

Referring to a question from the audience, Ms. Parwin Tofan, a women’s rights activist, said that the lack of knowledge about the justice system is a problem in the province.

“Women are among the minority groups in Farah and are suffering from their lack of knowledge,” she said. “We urge judicial organs in the province to fight discriminatory behaviour, especially in cases dealing with violence against women.”

The recorded radio debate will be broadcast via Donya-e-Naw radio station on Monday next week, reaching an audience estimated at 200,000 people in and around Farah.

Located in the western part of Afghanistan, Farah is a spacious and sparsely populated province. As it is mostly rural and underdeveloped, it faces several economic challenges.

UNAMA is mandated to support the Afghan Government and the people of Afghanistan as a political mission that provides 'good offices' among other key services. 'Good offices' are diplomatic steps UN takes publicly and in private, drawing on its independence, impartiality and integrity, to prevent international disputes from arising, escalating or spreading.

UNAMA also promotes coherent development support by the international community; assists the process of peace and reconciliation; monitors and promotes human rights and the protection of civilians in armed conflict; promotes good governance; and encourages regional cooperation.