Statement by International Development Law Organization (IDLO), delivered by IDLO Permanent Observer to the United Nations in Geneva, Mark Cassayre
The International Development Law Organization (IDLO) thanks the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan and the Working Group on Discrimination Against Women and Girls for their joint report and advocacy on human rights issues in Afghanistan, particularly as they relate to women and girls.
Access to justice is universally recognized as a basic human right, notwithstanding race, religion, ethnicity, or gender. A core principle of the rule of law is that justice should be accessible to all. As a rule of law organization, IDLO believes that women in Afghanistan have the right to have a space to be heard, to exercise their rights and to hold officials accountable for the decisions they make. We are guided by the knowledge that the ability to access justice is impacted by the availability, accessibility, and quality of legal services available.
IDLO has worked with civil society organizations (CSOs), independent lawyers, and the international community to strengthen access to justice, uphold human rights, expand legal capacity, and promote local ownership in Afghanistan for almost two decades. Over the past two years, IDLO has continued to support justice sector CSOs and defense lawyers to continue to operate and provide needed legal services to justice seekers.
Through local advocacy, Afghan lawyers have been able to advocate for the recognition of their role in the justice system and protection for their clients. IDLO believes that supporting Afghan lawyers, especially Afghan women lawyers, and providing a platform where they can raise their voice, share experiences, and exchange ideas is crucial to protecting the rights of marginalized groups including women and girls.
In conclusion, IDLO commends the Special Rapporteur for the common engagement and asks him, given his experience dealing with various justice sector actors, what would be a proactive way in which the international community can support women’s access to justice in Afghanistan?