Advocacy

It is obvious that in every society, there are social, political, cultural, and economic abnormalities that sometimes jeopardize individuals’ rights and there is a serious fight needed to resolve this issue and this fight can be done through advocacies.

Advocacy is a mechanism to realize justice in the community. Furthermore, it’s a practical process with continuous, regular, systematic and planned struggles to change people’s minds in a society and to put pressure on decision makers so that it can result to reform and amend law, polices and decisions.

As far as, there have been different kinds of injustice throughout the history, capacity and capabilities of the individuals have been changing from one stage to another, and advocacy existed in human societies in the primitive form. Because advocacy has evolution process and is growing, there has been changes in its approaches. Having a glance to social changes, it will be clear that struggles and fighting for implementing justice have been one of the concerns in every society.

Due to economic poverty, tribal culture and absurd customs, most of the victims are women in Afghanistan. To support this vulnerable community, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has established Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA) in the framework of the government.

MoWA vision, mission and objectives are outlined in a way that require advocacy activities to achieve them

The purpose of MoWA advocacy is to stabilize, expand women’s political participation, economic and social affairs, eliminate violence against women in the society, conduct awareness, civic trainings on woman’s human and Islamic rights, effective and legal struggles to bring positive changes in women’s lives, represent deprived and sidelined women and eventually implement law on men and women identically and provide justice in the society.

MoWA Advocacy Activities Are Outlined for Implementation as Following:

ü Plan and prepare drafts of legislative documents, strategies and policies.

To speed up performances and pay more attention in works, MoWA will establish commissions and committees to follow up related topics and present necessary suggestions to authorities. As well as, establish Committee on Law Codification composed of representatives from justice and judicial organizations and civil society within the ministry framework to work on drafting policies and laws related to women.[1]).

üStruggle to amend and change laws within gender equality perspective.

As far as the main responsibility of MoWA is to establish gender equality in all aspects including economic, social, political, cultural and legal. Therefore, struggles to reform and amend laws and regulations will pave the way to gender equality in different aspects of society and facilitate the social context to have significant presence of women.  In addition to presenting amendment plans, MoWA will advocate for scrutinizing and approving supportive plans in government and parliament level.

ü Plan and launch awareness programs and conferences, seminars, symposiums and media advertisements.[2]

The advocacy is composed of several dimensions; one of them is to raise public awareness and mindset through media, prepare and publish advertisements, interviews, debates, brochures and spots to institutionalize culture of respect to human and women rights and their status in the society.

ü Resolve violence against women cases in the ministry and follow them up with the justice and judicial organizations.

According to article 7 of the regulation, MoWA solves issues by conducting family meetings, consulting and mediation between the parties and in case of dissatisfaction of one of the litigants and/or if the case becomes criminal. it would be referred to relevant authorities and inquires the case to be followed up accordingly, which is a kind of advocacy for itself.

ü Legal reaction to violence against women, especially in severe violence cases from perspective of justice-centered society.

ü Advocacy to provide rights to victims and punish perpetrators of violence against women.

According to articles 2 and 6 of the Elimination of Violence against Women Law, the victims have a series of rights that sentencing perpetrators is one of them and MoWA will advocate in relevant authorities to provide their rights.

As mentioned above, MoWA has always advocated for realizing rights, empowerment and gender equality in law, policies, programs and performance levels. The most important achievements of MoWA in recent years are as the followings:

  • Advocacy for maintaining the Elimination of Violence Against Women Law as “a special law” separated from the Penal Code’
  • Advocacy for approving and confirming National Strategy on Fighting violence against women in gender committee and MoWA cabinet.
  • Advocacy to proceed drafting Family Law, Regulation on Anti-Discrimination and Regulation on Mediation in family disputes;
  • Advocacy for approving and implementing regulation on violence against women.
  • Advocacy to establish and expand special courts of elimination of violence against women in the capital and provinces;
  • Advocacy to establish gender and women’s affairs committees in the cabinet;
  • Advocacy for presence of one women in Supreme Court Council;
  • Advocacy for recruiting 566 women in the National Police in the capital and provinces;
  • Advocacy to include gender values in policies of offices through the Policy Review Committee within MoWA framework;
  • Advocacy for fund raising to handle severe cases of violence against women;
  • Advocacy to handle 350 severe violence against women cases to justice and judicial organizations in the capital and provinces in recent years;

Writer: Sahar Ariaye, Expert in women’s civic rights studies, Department of Legal Affairs.