In most of Afghanistan, and particularly outside of main city centers, state justice institutions are not able to effectively address justice needs of the majority of citizens. Lack of infrastructure, weak institutional capacity, complex procedures, lengthy processes and corrupt practices within the formal system, but also rising insecurity and a volatile environment,
are some of the explanatory factors for the overwhelming majority of Afghans to resort to community-based forms of dispute resolution. At the same time, these non-state justice forums have their own weaknesses. In many areas of the country, decades of war and displacement have weakened community structures and traditional mechanisms of resolution, which helped ensure decisions were enforced. Processes are not homogenous nor institutionalized, and may be subject to outside influence of powerbrokers. The sustainability of a decision is often tied to the relative influence of dispute resolution actors, which may vary. In some cases, decisions taken may reinforce community inequities, and sometimes result in serious violation of rights of minorities and vulnerable groups, including women and children.
The Access to Justice Sub-committee brings together civil society organizations with demonstrated experience in the support and reform of the justice sector, and research on justice-related issues. Its mandate is to support citizen’s improved access to justice through evidence-based advocacy designed to inform government policy development and implementation in the justice sector.