Promoting Women’s Access to Justice: National Gender Focal Points Conference in Kabul

13.12.2018
Kabul, 13th December 2018 – Yesterday, a national conference for so-called Gender Focal Points (GFPs) took place in Kabul. GFPs are female volunteers that offer legal support to women in their communities. The Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA) hosted the event to express its gratitude for their work. In total, more than 70 people from eight Afghan provinces participated, majorly women. Attendees discussed ways to improve cooperation between the MoWA, its provincial departments, and GFPs. The Afghan-German Cooperation’s programme Promotion of the Rule of Law in Afghanistan (RoL) facilitated and financed the event at a total cost of more than AFN 860.000.

At the event, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs Technical and Policy Deputy Minister, Ms Spoghmai Wardak, emphasised: “Supporting Gender Focal Points on a district level is very effective initiating women’s access to justice. It also bridges the gap of having no MoWA sub-offices on district level. We will apply that concept in additional provinces so women will enjoy access to justice in the entire country.”

 

GFPs, staff from Departments of Women’s Affairs (DoWA) as well as relevant donors from the provinces Jawzjan, Sar-e Pul, Balkh, Baghlan, Samangan, Kunduz, Takhar and Badakhshan participated. In various working groups, they presented achievements and discussed challenges they face. They further pointed out how Afghan state institutions could support GFPs. The event further offered opportunities to network and exchange.

The Acting Director of Takhar’s DoWA, Ms Gohershad, said: “It is a big achievement that 106 Gender Focal Points are active in eight provinces. So far, 1,390 cases were referred to Gender Focal Points in 73 districts and their villages. In these cases, women had no access to formal justice and they were not aware of where to seek legal services.”

To ensure women’s access to justice and to promote their rights, the MoWA and its provincial departments have been cooperating with GFPs since 2016. In 2018, activities focused on strengthening their capacities for legally supporting Afghan women. Next year, many networking events for GFPs and relevant stakeholders in the justice holder shall take place, further facilitating cooperation. This shall ensure that women in need of legal support receive the best services possible.

The programme Promotion of the Rule of Law in Afghanistan (RoL) is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The programme aims at ensuring the rule of law, a well-functioning judicial system and legal security in Afghanistan. To ensure legal security for all citizens, RoL has been supporting so-called Huquq bureaus which handled more than 80,000 civil cases since 2013. In the same time, to support higher legal education, RoL provided more than 31,500 books to law and sharia faculties, organised more than 190 courses on legal topics for students and lecturers and awarded more than 60 students with scholarships. The programme also emphasises promoting women’s rights and strengthening their access to justice as well as the job market.

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