Diasporic Afghan scholars convene for Afghanistan Legal Research Network Conference 2022

ALRN members convened in Heidelberg and online to present and discuss their research on trajectories of change in Afghan law.

From 19–21 October 2022, the Max Planck Foundation convened its first ALRN Conference. Held in a hybrid format, the three-day proceedings marked the culmination of the year’s research conducted under the auspices of the ALRN. In addition to serving as a forum at which Afghan legal scholars and practitioners could share their own ideas and critically discuss the observations of others, participants also seized upon the opportunity to connect with each other and share their lived experiences.

Professor Clark Lombardi rendered the first contribution with a keynote speech on constitutionalism under Islamist regimes. Over the course of the next three days, participants presented their findings on human rights at risk in Afghanistan and Afghan women’s participation in political and social life. On the second day, Professor Lutforahman Saeed presented his latest book, Islam, Custom and Human Rights: A Legal and Empirical Study of Criminal Cases in Afghanistan After the 2004 Constitution.

The final day of the conference opened with a keynote speech by Ghizaal Haress, former Commissioner at the Afghanistan Independent Commission for Overseeing the Implementation of the Constitution, on the militant constitutionalism of the de facto authorities. Subsequent panels explored issues such as the distribution of powers under Taliban rule, protection of minorities and the fate of the existing corpus of laws of Afghanistan.

The proceedings marked a milestone after a year of exchanges and research and a series of monthly online symposia. They ended on a high note with lively discussion and proposals for using the Network’s connections and ideas in the struggle for future rights and law-based dialogues.