Monday, July 16, 2012

Our Commitment to Afghanistan

I keep hearing it over and over:  "Global Rights' program is so well respected here in Afghanistan." 

I am in Kabul to celebrate Global Rights' ten year anniversary in Afghanistan.  Saturday I walked into our event to be welcomed by a sea of young men and women in caps and gowns.  They were graduating from our Young Lawyers in Training (YLTP) and Family Law Clinical Training (FLC) programs from Al Biruni, Nangarhar and Kabul Universities in Law and Shar'ia.  Their excitement was contagious. 

Female YLTP & FLC Graduates
Joining the students were many of our current and former Legal Fellows and our partner organizations (NGOs and government ministries)  where our Fellows are placed. Participating partners included  Justice for All, Afghan Women's Network, the Ministry of Justice and many more. 

We were  honored that many of the law school deans and faculty joined us, as well as government ministers, members of Parliament, judges and prosecutors, our Human Rights Legal Practitioners who help train our students, leading human and women's rights advocates and our strong US and international supporters.  All in all there were 800 people who celebrated our 10th Anniversary with us!

More than 2,000 young people have graduated from YLTP and FLC over the ten years.  To date, we have placed 236 Legal Fellows (138 females and 98 males).  The Legal Advice Bureau has assisted 3,700 individuals. 

The statistics are impressive, but our work has such a ripple effect.   What I heard from our distinguished speakers again and again is how important rule of law is to a stable Afghanistan.  They highlighted Global Rights role in that critical process. Our work provides the next generation of lawyers with practical legal education that addresses human rights and the established  Legal Advice Bureaus provide legal assistance for the most poor and marginalized, especially women. 

Global Rights' Board Chair, J. Stuart Lemle; U.S. BG Dixie
Morrow; Global Rights Afghanistan Director, Justine Mbabazi;
& Global Rights' partner, Suraya Pakzad

As Brigadier General Dixie Morrow, the U.S. Deputy Coordinating Director for Rule of Law and Law Enforcement, said, "It is the principles that Global Rights and its partners teach and demonstrate that bring us together.  Program graduates use their knowledge to bring transparency, consistency, integrity and fairness to the justice system.  Treating everyone -- men and women, rich and poor, from all regions and every ethnic group, from the most powerful to the humblest -- with respect for their rights is the essence of a commitment to justice and human rights."  

Dr. Obaidullah Obaid, Minister of Higher Education
The Minister of Higher Education, Dr. Obaidullah Obaid, stressed the need for young people in Afghanistan to learn about human rights as part of their education.  He commended Global Rights and our university partners for teaching the importance of human rights as part of our curriculum.

I wish I could convey all of the inspiring words that were spoken on Saturday.  Despite the violence that continues to plague parts of the country,  the day's event filled us all with hope for the future of Afghanistan and the courage to continue Global Rights'  work. 

I want to express my deepest thank you to all of those who participated in our 10th Anniversary celebration, our dedicated staff and to all who have supported us over the years.  We are grateful and proud of what we have done together and what is possible in the future.

- Susan

Posted by Susan M. Farnsworth

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