Tuesday, February 7, 2012

“Without women, there is no peace.”

“Without women, there is no peace.  We are part of the solution.” 

Ms. Afifa Azim (left) with Justine Rukeba Mbabazi,
Global Rights' Afghanistan Country Director
That is what Ms. Afifa Azim, General Director of Afghan Women’s Network (AWN), said to me last week when I attended the launch of Global Rights’ fourth Legal Advice Bureau (LAB) in Afghanistan in the city of Nangarhar, which is in an eastern province bordering Pakistan.  AWN is our partner organization in running the Nangarhar LAB.

It’s Jeff Le again. As my visit to Afghanistan comes to a close, I wanted to share another update that was particularly meaningful. 

What does the opening of our Legal Advice Bureau have to do with women and peace?  Our LABs are designed to provide legal assistance to the most poor and marginalized, primarily women, in family court. 

We believe empowering women to access justice so that they can assert and protect their rights is a potent tool to overcome power imbalances in society.  A more balanced society – with women fully participating in the life of the community – is a more peaceful society. 

Ms. Azim explained to me how our LAB can pave the way for change:

“The LAB is the tool used to help women and the poor directly.  Helping to advise and represent clients in court allows for grassroots change for the community.  Through the LAB, we are also working with local leaders to educate them on how women’s and human rights do not oppose values of Islam.  Rather, they are complementary.

The Nangarhar LAB allows us to build a coalition and groundswell of support to promote change at the policy level.  Actual implementation will be more effective than research. This is the only way we can help the Afghan Government implement what they promised.

With the upcoming transition years in Afghanistan, women must be a part of the process.  In Bonn, the international community understood this and gave us a platform to speak.  Our voice was heard.  Without women, there is no peace.  We are part of the solution.”

I couldn’t agree more.  Global Rights is proud to be partnering with AWN and we grateful that so many key officials joined us at the launch of our Legal Advice Bureau, including Deputy Nangarhar Governor, Mohammad Hanif Gardiwal; Chief of Court of Appeals, Mr. Fazal Hadi Fazeli; Chief of Justice Department, Mahmoud Khalil; and Chief of the Independent Human Rights Commission, Dr. Rafiullah Baidar.

We’re off to a great start!  Thank you for your support.

- Jeff

Posted by Jeff Le

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