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UN/For Women By Women:
Come Out of the Shadows

Only 8 per cent of women are court judges, 20 percent are lawyers in Kabul and only 6 percent are prosecutors

By Lorraine Farquharson

Idlo
Idlo

NEW YORK, 19 marzo 2014- In a densely packed conference room at the United Nations headquarters’ 58th annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), it was clear that the launch of the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) gender development report in Afghanistan sparked a heightened interest in women from all regions of the world.

IDLO has been working as a leading partner of the Afghan Government toward the development of justice and legal reform since 2001. It has supported Afghanistan’s Violence Against Women committee; its legal aid system and also the Independent National Legal Training Center – which has resulted in the success of thousands of legal professionals in the country.

The report stated that up to the end of 2013, only 8 per cent of women are court judges, 20 percent are lawyers in Kabul and only 6 percent are prosecutors.“That number is still low,” stated H.E. Sebastiano Cardi, Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, in his opening remarks. “But the government is devoted to promoting better quality, in which all will be equal.”The report also showed that those numbers are slowly rising numbers, but those results were only for urban areas.

The numbers lessen in rural areas. “Progress has to be acknowledged, however, because women have indeed made progress. So far, 8 units for the prosecution of gender crimes have been built,” a member of the panel said. “Despite that, women are currently only assigned as judges in the lower courts such as family courts. None has yet been appointed to the Supreme Court.”It’s a crucial moment for Afghanistan though. The government has to show that it is continuously working to maintain the fight for justice for women, gender equality and the empowerment of women to meet developmental challenges, since elections are drawing near.

“More women are needed in the justice sector,” said IDLO Director General, Irene Khan. “Being a woman is jeopardy and being a woman in the justice sector is double jeopardy. These stereotypes are present in other parts of the world too,” she added.

The fall of the Afghanistan’s Taliban opened up doors for females in the country’s justice system, sure. But on the flip side, a heave of challenges and barriers still hinder many women seeking to remove the “women only belong in the kitchen” stigma. Women across the globe face discrimination and are still being held back by gender stereotypes. In Afghanistan women fear the justice system which explains their resilience to report any ludicrous acts against them.

Up to 62 per cent of women who already work in the system and who have been interviewed by IDLO, have said they face enormous barriers each day.

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