Improving justice for Afghan women spotlighted in televised Nangarhar event

18 Apr 2017

Improving justice for Afghan women spotlighted in televised Nangarhar event

JALALABAD - The importance of Afghan women’s access to formal justice systems was the topic of a televised, UN-backed event held in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Nangarhar.

The symposium, organized by the Jalalabad regional office of UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), was set up to raise awareness about the legal challenges women in eastern Afghanistan face and to highlight efforts made by the Afghan government and women’s rights activists to address those challenges.

During the event, a diverse panel outlined women’s rights, and highlighted the current mechanisms in place to support women at all levels of Afghan society. They responded to the questions a moderator collected by telephone, ranging from the impact of awareness-raising programmes to the capacity of law enforcement in protecting women from violence.

Panellist Zarghona Naeemi, a women’s rights activist, spoke to the challenges women face in the Nangarhar legal system. “I would like to suggest that the government develop a special mechanism where women’s access to justice will be improved,” she concluded.

Enayatullah Hafiz, a judge in Nangarhar’s appeals court, responded by saying that justice is the basis of peace and prosperity, and described how Nangarhar’ court has begun the process of establishing a special branch to provide women with lawyers and other legal services without charge.

“We are committed to supporting women,” he said. “Soon, we will establish a special division for women to accept and adjudicate women’s complaints on a regular and timely basis.”

Abdul Subur Mubariz, a law professor, added that harmful traditions affect women’s access to justice, and underscored that in Islamic instruction, women’s rights must be respected.

“The government should launch information campaigns through civil societies and Islamic scholars to clarify Islamic instruction in terms of women’s access to justice,” he added.

Following the discussion, the event’s participants jointly recommended awareness-raising campaigns to highlight women’s rights and to promote transparency and accountability in judicial organs, at all levels. 

The televised event took place in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province. It was broadcast via Sharq radio and TV to an audience estimated at 500,000 people in the eastern provinces.

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.