The Max Planck Foundation hosts an online discussion on litigating for the rights of Afghan women and girls

The speakers discussed the mobilisation of international human rights law to address the situation of women in Afghanistan.

This month, the Max Planck Foundation partnered with the human rights organisation Rawadari and the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) for the joint hosting of a discussion forum. On 8 May 2024, contributors of the Foundation’s Afghanistan Legal Research Network (ALRN) explored the potential to address women’s rights violations in Afghanistan by bringing a case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the basis of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

The proceedings opened with an address by Shaharzad Akbar, Executive Director of Rawadari and former Chairperson of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), outlining the rationale behind the campaign. Two speakers of the OSJI, Mariana Pena and Manuela Londoño then emphasised the opportunities to capture wrongs inflicted upon Afghan women and girls as violations of CEDAW and subjecting them to the jurisdiction of the ICJ, particularly focusing on the legal and political challenges of persuading state parties to CEDAW to take the relevant steps.

Open discussion with participants highlighted the legal and practical possibilities and obstacles as well as conceivable risks associated with this strategy. Particular emphasis was placed on the complementarity of various avenues for redress and the particular significance of engaging in wide consultation with civil society and affected groups of Afghan women at stages of the process.

The webinar was part of a series of the project Civil Society and the Rule of Law in Afghanistan, supported by the German Federal Foreign Office.