Ministry of Justice Prepares Reform Strategy: Equal Access to Justice for All Afghan Citizens

Today, a two-day workshop to gather input for the Afghan Ministry of Justice’s (MoJ) upcoming reform strategy ended in Kabul. The new strategy shall define measures to improve Afghan citizen’s access to justice. In total, 200 representatives of Directorates of Justice (DoJs), Directorates of Women’s Affairs (DoWAs), the Attorney General Office (AGO), the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association (AIBA) and civil society shared their input, including 30 women. Today’s training was the final activity in a series of four workshops for staff working at MoJ’s Policy and Planning Department (PPD) and at legal institutions on provincial and district level. The Afghan-German Cooperation’s programme Promotion of the Rule of Law in Afghanistan (RoL) facilitated the events.

The Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Justice, Dr Zakia Adily, opened the workshop. The PPD’s director, Dr Shaawali Attaye, who chaired the workshops, commented: “In the past, we only consulted Heads of DoJs once we had finalised a new strategy. Now, however, we involve different departments of the DoJs and other justice actors already during the drafting stage. Thereby, we receive better input while giving them a feeling of ownership, ensuring smooth implementation.” The PPD is responsible for drafting policy as well as strategy documents and evaluating their implementation.

Activities took place in Kabul, Feyzabad, Mazar-e Sharif and Herat and aimed at including institutions on provincial and district level in the drafting process. Their input shall enable the PPD to make informed decisions and base the strategy on challenges these institutions face when providing access to justice to citizens.

Participants discussed how to make legislation more accessible, increase legal awareness and facilitate coordination and cooperation between central, provincial and district level. One participant emphasised: “Legislation is freely accessible on the MoJ's website. However, most people on district level do not have internet access. Thus, we must think about other ways to ensure citizens are legally aware. It is good that we can discuss such challenges during these workshops.” Better information flows shall help increase transparency and fight corruption, any sort of abuse or violence and legally protect especially vulnerable people: poor, young, old or people with disabilities.

The new strategy shall also comprise aspects of the Anti-Corruption Strategy and the National Justice Reform Plan. The Anti-Corruption Strategy provides a roadmap for fighting corruption effectively. The National Justice Reform Plan elaborates institutional reforms in order to improve justice and order. The Afghan-German Cooperation will continue to support drafting and implementing the MoJ’s new strategy for next year.

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 that handled more than 77,000 civil cases since 2013. In the same time, to support higher legal education, RoL provided more than 30,000 books to law and sharia faculties, organised more than 150 courses on legal topics for students and lecturers and awarded more than 60 students with scholarships. RoL further trained almost 13,000 police staff to carry out duties according to law. The programme also emphasises promoting women’s rights and strengthening their access to justice as well as the job market.

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