We advise and represent survivors of human rights violations particularly sexual violence, whistleblowers, human rights defenders and witnesses in legal proceedings.
We take some of the most high-profile sex offence cases involving widespread and systematic sexual abuse of vulnerable people.
These cases are dangerous as they involve prosecuting powerful offenders. We investigate and try these cases in court to fight for justice and accountability. If survivors are hesitant to file a claim in court or success at trial is improbable, we deploy other means to push for their rights before the State.
We document violations of law and work closely with the United Nations and foreign governments to uphold the rule of law and
hold offenders accountable. We (as well as our clients and witnesses) face retaliation in most cases so risk mitigation and protection support is integral to our work.
Some of our clients are whistleblowers and risk their lives to speak their truth. We ensure that their voices are heard at the highest level in government.
I have my lawyer and I feel there is light at the end of this tunnel.”
– WJO's client in a case of sexual harassment by high-ranking police officers.
Strengthening Government Institutions
We build better prevention and response mechanisms by changing laws, policies and improving on existing mechanisms.
As Technical Advisor to Afghanistan's Attorney General's Office and Ministry of Higher Education, we draft national strategies, action plans, policies and protocols.
We also provide needs-based assistance to strengthen judicial processes and safeguard victims’ fair trial rights and experience with the justice process.
Most sex offence cases in Kabul are referred to us.
"We never worked so closely with an NGO before. It was the first time we conducted a criminal investigation on some high-profile cases with an NGO.”
Former Attorney General Mr. Farid Hamidi addressing a meeting on human rights defenders.
WJO's Co-Founder and Executive Director signing an MOU with Deputy Minister of Higher Education (January 2021)
WJO team delivering a workshop on sexual harassment to the Attorney General Office prosecutors (2021)
Building the Next Generation of Human Rights Lawyers
Human rights lawyers are the gatekeepers of people’s rights and they are critical for a functioning democracy.
To inspire and equip the next generation of human rights “lawyer-leaders” with practical knowledge and skills, we provide them with mentorship and on-the-job training.
During the training, they learn how to strategically use the law as a vehicle for change.They learn critical skills such as legal writing, evidence analysis, cross-examination and client/witness interviewing.
They also learn concepts and fact-patterns in cases of gender-based violence, sexual exploitation, sexual abuse and harassment.
WJO's legal team and Next Generation fellows during a mock trial session (July 2021)
"I learned more with WJO in few months than in 3 years of university. Now I am ready to become a human rights lawyer and I will achieve this."
- WJO Fellow
We use law as a tool to prohibit and penalise acts which have been historically committed against women.
In the past, we advocated for the express prohibition of Bacha Bazi ("dancing boys", a customary practice of sexual exploitation of boys in Afghanistan), sexual harassment in education, public and work spaces, forced virginity testing, anal examination of young boys, anal rape occurring in marriage and defamation of women's honour amongst other things.
WJO's team strengthening protection of survivors of rape and sexual assault during amendment of the Criminal Procedure Code.
Conference on the role of victim and defence counsel in the amendment of the Criminal Procedure Code.
Conference to end the practice of virginity and anal testing by forensic officials on women, boys and girls.
Peace is not ceasefire. Peace is the establishment of social justice.
In the wake of political negotiations with the Taliban, we are part of a national advocacy process to push for sustainable peace in Afghanistan with the Afghanistan Women’s Network and Afghanistan Civil Society Forum.
We take stock of Afghanistan's progress on peace and re-commit the Government of Afghanistan and the international community to a notion of peace that is rooted in social justice.
We are part of state and nation building that is built ground up from the demands of the citizens.