The Upper House of the Afghan National Assembly has recognized the work of IDLO legal trainer and adviser Gul Ghutai Afzalyar with an award for her efforts to reform and clarify the Legislation for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (LEVAW) in Afghanistan. In a letter, the First Deputy of the Upper House said “the Upper House of the National Assembly appreciates and admits your tireless efforts towards fulfilling the honest duties of your country and the Afghan people. IDLO has been vital in strengthening a strong relationship with the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. It is with great pleasure, honor and acknowledgment that we present this award to Ms. Gul Ghutai Afzalyar”.
IDLO congratulated our colleague and asked her about this work.
GGA - I graduated from the Law and Political Science Faculty of Kabul University in 1995, and joined IDLO in 2011 where I work as a legal adviser and trainer. My role has included establishing new guidelines for the Women Protection Centers (WPCs), establishing and attending meetings of the Afghan Shelter Network (ASN), developing an assessment for training manuals and conducting legal trainings for the WPCs legal advisors and defense lawyers.
IDLO - What changes have you seen during your time carrying out this work?
GGA - The activities I have done, in particular, in respect to the WPCs have proved very useful and effective. The positive changes brought to the WPCs are not only felt by me but also by the WPC defense lawyers, legal advisors, Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA), and other organizations involved with the WPCs.
In addition, I have shared my inputs about the development of a unified regulation, which should be followed for mediation meetings, The Mediation Regulation; I have delivered trainings on different topics to the WPC defense lawyers, both in the capital and the provinces, which have improve their conduct and as a result, they behave in a much professional manner. These trainings have not only improved the knowledge of the defense lawyers about different laws, but they have also resulted in defense lawyers learning advocacy skills.
With the efforts of IDLO, the WPC took the initiative to establish the Afghan Shelter Network (ASN). The ASN has enabled various shelters to hold meetings to share and address the challenges they face with the institutions they work with, including the MoWA.
With the support of WPCs, I drafted a guideline for the shelters, The Shelters Coordination Guideline. These guidelines resulted in all the shelters holding meetings to improve the activities of the shelters and service quality for the beneficiaries.
I have also helped to develop the Confidentiality Policy and the Security Policy for the beneficiaries within the shelters and other involved bodies like police, EVAW units, courts, and MoWA.
IDLO - What do you enjoy most about your work?
GGA - When I see my colleagues supporting and helping me with my work, this is what I enjoy the most. I recognize what I do, I find it very interesting since it matches my field of study.
IDLO - Does your award relate to a specific area or achievement in your work?
GGA – UN Women established a committee to reform women-related laws. The committee has members from both government and non-government organizations and discusses the articles which are problematic, so that they can be reformed and the rights of women are not violated in justice and judicial organizations.
The committee has worked on different laws so far: The Law on Civil Dispute Resolution, Mediation Regulation, and Legislation for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (LEVAW).
I joined the committee on behalf of IDLO and was sharing my opinions on those issues.
The activities and achievements of the committee were appreciated by the Taqnin Department (Legislative Department) of the Meshrano Jirga (Upper House).
IDLO - What did the First Deputy Speaker say to you when you were presented your award?
GGA - While handing us the award, the First Deputy Speaker, during his speech, appreciated the efforts of the committee in figuring out the conflictive articles of the LEVAW and resolving them.
He added since there were members of the committee from different governmental and non-governmental institutions, thus the inputs and opinions about the LEVAW were presented from different perspectives.
He also said that he would invite the committee to their meetings to listen to our input.