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Women in Afghanistan from the Perspective of an International Human Rights Lawyer

September 21, 2011
Los Angeles, CA
Tizili Mor joined us at the CODEPINK house in Venice for refreshments and conversation in honor of International Peace Day. Mor is an international human rights attorney who worked in the NGO sector in Afghanistan. During the two hour talk she shed light on numerous problems within the system, including throwing money at a problem without first laying the groundwork in a community.

Tzili’s stories included the dichotomy between American NGO employees living within military bases alongside soldiers and their Afghan counterparts, the amount of physical protection that Americans require to venture out. Hers was a European NGO so her experience differed without the constraints of US politics.

Tzili shared with us the many problems women face that wish to have careers in the Afghan justice sector. As women are subject to arrest if they travel alone or with anyone who is not her husband or brother, their ability to prosecute cases is limited, however women do comprise 7.2% of judges, 10% of prosecutors an 16% of lawyers. In 2008 women made up 12% of 878 graduates of law and Sharia faculties throughout the country. In 1010 the Kabul and Herat 28.5 percent of graduates were women.

Tzili also discussed the staggering problem of domestic violence in Afghanistan – around 80% of all women have reported some form of domestic violence. One hope is that with more female legal professionals and better training for all staff, domestic violence will be greatly reduced and professionals will better treat survivors. As it stands now there is little privacy even when a woman is reporting abuse. Several projects are addressing violence against women with more coming.

We wrapped up by talking about the problem that international funding has created – mostly unorganized, with little oversight, and the majority of it continues to go to NGO’s. Little money goes to the government of Afghanistan, and most to NGOs creating resentment and a pattern of bribery.