World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


WOMEN IN AFGHANISTAN’S JUSTICE SECTOR

OUT OF THE SHADOWS, ONTO THE BENCH: WOMEN IN AFGHANISTAN’S JUSTICE SECTOR

(New York) March 18, 2014 – Fundamental justice for the women of Afghanistan will only come from increased participation in their country’s justice sector, a report released today by the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) shows. Since the fall of the Taliban, the legal profession has opened up to women. But the pace of transformation, while steady, remains slow.

As national elections near and foreign troops draw down, it is a crucial moment for Afghanistan to maintain and build on gains made in delivering justice for women.

“Afghanistan’s perennial struggle with gender violence, discrimination and marginalization will not be won until investments in women – their freedom, their education, their academic and professional opportunity – match those in men,” says IDLO Director-General Irene Khan. “This report is a reminder that the rule of law cannot prevail when one half of society is excluded.”

In 2013, women made up just over 8 percent of judges, 6 percent of prosecutors and less than a fifth of lawyers in a country where almost nine women in 10 experience some kind of abuse. The overwhelming majority of female judges work in Kabul. In the provinces, fewer than one in 30 prosecutors are women. Among law faculty lecturers, women constitute less than a sixth; among Shari’a University lecturers, fewer than 1 percent.

By contrast, last year saw a 28 percent increase in reports of attacks against women, with little rise in prosecutions, according to a United Nations report. Prosecution of women for alleged moral crimes and of rape victims continues. Redress for harmed women and an end to their legal persecution are vital steps as the Afghan government takes full responsibility for protecting its citizens.

“Improving women’s ability to work in justice institutions is essential – not only to ensure that women enjoy democratic freedoms and equality of opportunity in the workplace, but also to ensure that the specific interests of women are represented and advanced in justice institutions,” says Irene Khan. “Without women in the justice sector, the fairness of judicial outcomes for women, and their access to justice, are compromised.”

As a result of Afghanistan’s strict gender-segregated social code, the low presence of women’s legal professionals – lawyers, prosecutors and judges – has meant that many Afghan women continue to fear, and be intimidated by, the formal justice system, which in turn dissuades them from reporting abuses against them. The lack of female staff in the justice system means that women are less likely to come forward to access the justice system, particularly when the matter is sensitive, causing endless instances of forced marriage, sexual violence, mutilation and domestic abuse to go unreported due to cultural barriers.

“We are living in a society in which women face violence, almost daily,” one woman interviewed for the report said. “In order to provide justice for women and victims, women should be recruited to the justice and judicial sector.”

“In our community boys have supremacy over girls,” said another. “Even families consider the wishes of boys and believe that girls should be housewives. I want to change this idea.”

Despite an almost complete disintegration of gender equity during the Taliban years, an impressive number of women have entered or re-entered the labor force. Yet justice institutions still struggle to recruit and retain qualified professionals generally, and women legal professionals in particular.

In IDLO’s study, 62 percent of the women surveyed said they believe that women face obstacles when working in the justice sector. These include social pressures, sexist attitudes, and family and societal stereotypes which maintain that a woman’s place is in the home. In addition, women face many practical impediments, such as lack of safe transportation and appropriate accommodation facilities for them to attend law or Shari’a faculties, or compulsory legal training based in Kabul. Security was also cited as a major barrier.

“The government elected in April must prioritize and secure women’s participation in the justice sector by taking simple, low-cost steps that will help secure a peaceful and prosperous future for the nation,” said Irene Khan. “These include: reforming curricula, particularly at Shari’a faculties; providing safe transport for women students; and instituting affirmative action in law-school admissions and scholarships.”

Women’s Professional Participation in Afghanistan’s Justice Sector: Challenges and Opportunities is a thorough assessment of Afghan women’s advancement as lawyers, advocates, prosecutors, judges, law professors and legal experts in national justice and formal degree-granting educational institutions, and provides insights into a key challenge that will face the new Afghan government.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

South Sudan: UN Agencies Reach More Than Half A Million

South Sudan: UN Agencies Reach More than Half a Million People with Life-Saving Aid More>>

Israeli Plans To Expand Its Illegal Settlement Enterprises

PLO Executive Committee member, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, strongly denounced Israeli plans to expand its illegal settlement enterprise by approving the construction of 2,561 units in the settlement of Givat Hamatos. More>>

ALSO:

Ecuador: Villagers Plan To Seize Chevron's $106M Arbitral Award

QUITO, ECUADOR, Sep. 30 /CSRwire/ - In what could be a huge boost to their campaign to force Chevron to comply with a $9.5 billion environmental judgment in Ecuador, rainforest villagers plan to enforce a court order directing them to take possession ... More>>

World Grossly Ill-Prepared To Deal Ebola Outbreak

Leaders from Sierra Leone and Liberia, the two countries, along with Guinea at the frontlines of the battle against the unprecedented Ebola outbreak in West Africa, urged the General Assembly today ensure the United Nations mounted a stronger, better coordinated response “to end this grave threat to our collective survival.”More>>

ALSO:

  • Save The Children - Save the Children Builds Its First Ebola Treatment Centre


  • Israel’s Netanyahu Warns Against ‘Militant Islam’

    29 September 2014 – From the podium of the General Assembly today Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the world of the grave threat he said it faced from militant Islam’s desire to dominate the planet, be they Sunni extremists or ... More>>

    Deputy PM of Syria Victims Of ISIL Brutality 'Waiting On Us To Act'

    As the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militant began carrying their slaughter in the Middle East, “they might have surprised many of the countries present here, but not…us,” the Deputy Prime Minister of Syria told the United Nations General Assembly, underscoring today that the time has come for the world to stand united and tackle the threat head-on.More>>

    Not A Single Child Untouched By Recent Gaza Conflict

    There is not a single child who has not been adversely affected by the recent conflict in Gaza, where children suffer from bedwetting, difficulties in sleeping, nightmares, a loss of appetite, and display more aggressive behaviour at school, an independent United Nations human rights expert said todayMore>>


    Ebola: UN Readies To Start Work As Death Toll Surpasses 3,000

    Ebola response: medical supplies, including protective equipment and essential medicine, are loaded onto trucks at the Lungi International Airport in Freetown, capital of Sierra Leone. Photo: UNICEF/Sulaiman Stephens More>>

    Get More From Scoop

     
     
     
     
     
    World
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news