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Landmark workshop on reproductive rights in Afghanistan

Graphic: AIHRC logo

The APF provided seed funding to assist Afghanistan’s NHRI host a workshop bringing together civil society activists and female school teachers.

In one of the most challenging environments for women and girls, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission has convened a ground-breaking workshop on reproductive rights.

Possibly the first workshop of its kind in the country, the meeting brought together 20 female teachers from girls' schools and ten civil society activists for a series of discussions and practical activities.

Seed funding was provided by the APF after Commission representatives developed a proposal for the workshop following their participation in the APF's training program on the rights of women and girls in 2015.

Held in Bamyan province, one of the most disadvantaged regions of Afghanistan, participants discussed:

  • The concept of reproductive rights
  • Legal instruments and legal guarantees in national laws
  • International human rights instruments and standards
  • Reproductive rights from the viewpoint of Islam
  • Standards of reproductive health and the medical consequences of underage productivity
  • Role of reproductive rights in strengthening the family.

Graphic: Participant delivering a presentation at the AIHRC workshop

A number of concrete proposals resulted from the discussions, including the need to amend national laws and policies to better promote and protect reproductive rights, especially for girls forced to enter early marriages and have children at a young age.

Participants also highlighted the value of conducting similar workshops in all other provinces across Afghanistan, running educational and outreach programs to build greater awareness of reproductive rights, and establishing a fund to support a broad range of initiatives on reproductive rights.

In addition, participants said they wanted to be advocates for change and share what they learned at the workshop with at least ten family members, friends or neighbours.

"This is a wonderful demonstration of the power of national human rights institutions to begin a conversation on a difficult topic and build partnerships that can inspire real action," said Pip Dargan, APF Deputy Director and Gender Focal Point.

The APF has also provided seed funding and training to support the National Human Rights Commission of Nepal run a public inquiry on gender-based violence in one province of the country.

Date: 15 August 2016

Image credits

  1. AIHRC logo - AIHRC
  2. Participant delivering a presentation at the AIHRC workshop - Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission