As lawyers working in the justice sector, all our interventions naturally follow a rights-based approach pursuant to rights enshrined in the laws of Afghanistan. In the absence of a right, we often interpret the law in favour of a right, or otherwise, advocate for new legislation on the same.
In cases involving gender-based violence and discrimination, all of our cases are argued on the basis of non-discrimination pursuant to Article 22 of the Afghanistan Constitution and relevant laws. We draw from CEDAW jurisprudence and gender-equal interpretations of Islamic law.
In addition to our substantive work, we also run our practice using 3 rights-based principles set out in our Legal Practice Standards: (1) Participation (2) Accountability and (3) Intersectionality. Click the button below to learn more.
Participation: Victims have the right to know their rights; know how to claim their rights and; participate in shaping the decisions that impact on their rights.
According to our Legal Practice Standards, we must involve our clients at all stages of their case. All actions have to be preceded by client instructions, contemporaneously taken in writing and filed. Case theories have to be approved by clients. All case updates have to be timely communicated to clients. All client meetings and phone calls have to be noted in the file. For clients who cannot read and write, it is mandatory for lawyers to read out key documents to clients to ensure that they understand their case and are informed in their instructions to us. Supervisors have to conduct monthly check-ins with clients. At the end of each case, clients are interviewed and they fill out a form to provide feedback.
We train clients, survivors and their communities to self-organise and use simple technology to document and preserve evidence for future litigation. Our clients are our partners - not beneficiaries. We will involve them in the design and execution of our work.
To ensure clients and/or their communities have a voice at the table, we facilitate their access to authorities through letter-writing and close-door meetings.
Accountability: As cause-lawyers, our duty extends beyond case work. We monitor the implementation of selected laws and regulations and hold the government to account for any dereliction of duty and breach of rights.
We ensure that civil society, the public and survivors are aware of the remedies they are entitled to. We send official letters to the government; we meet with legal advisors of the President and Vice President. We exhaust all non-legal means to get things done quickly and effectively. We are activist-lawyers. This means, beyond representation, either we use the justice process to change things or we campaign to change the process.
Appreciating that our government is faced with extremely tough security challenges and staff are under-resourced and under-capacitated, we always extend our hand to help the government comply with their obligations – without compromising on accountability. We will challenge and encourage authorities to practise a gender and survivor-centered approach to justice. This is our idea of peaceful resistance.
Intersectionality & Non-discrimination: All forms of discrimination must be prohibited, prevented or eliminated. We use an intersectional approach to discrimination, recognizing that certain groups suffer from a combination of various oppressions which, together, produce something unique and distinct from any one form of discrimination standing alone.
We represent and safeguard our clients with that awareness. In particular, at client intake, we conduct a profile assessment of the client to determine the same.
These principles are integrated into our policymaking, as well as, in the day-to-day running of our organisation.
We believe that women are the owners of the decisions relating to their lives.
We will go the extra mile to make sure that survivors with added vulnerabilities (the disabled, the ill, the old, rural women, minority groups and trafficked women) are aware of their options and are able to access justice and other support services.
We will not discriminate on the basis of ethnic group, nationality, political alliance, class status, family background, religion and age.
We will serve our communities and encourage their participation in political and social life.
We believe in solidarity between women and men and we understand that women are part of their communities, and this matters.
We strive to be a transparent and accountable organization; to each other, to our clients, to the organizations who work with us, and to those who audit us.
We promote a culture of learning, creativity and openness. We choose to be good to each other, and, to be honest about our differences.
We will be thorough and conscientious in our work.
We encourage people around us to be self-reflective, honest and brave.
We will go the extra mile to empower women especially young leaders to be educated, experienced, learned and to be the best they can be in their work.
We will act in the best interest of our clients and always put their choices, decisions and safety at the forefront of our legal work. We will safeguard what they share with us in confidence and act professionally as officers of the court.