The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) has contributed $246,687 to the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) to support increasing public demand for services at the Violence Against Women (VAW) Unit at the Afghan Attorney General’s Office in Kabul and the provincial prosecutors’ offices in Herat, Balkh, Kapisa and Parwan, and to provide material support to upcoming VAW Units in three more provinces that will open in 2012. Funds will also be used to establish a full-time gender consultant position at IDLO, who will work to strengthen the link between women’s shelters and VAW Units.
VAW Units are specialized units of Afghan prosecutors that are dedicated to prosecuting the 22 criminal offenses identified under the 2009 Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW) law. Launched by the Office of the Attorney General, the Kabul VAW Unit alone has initiated over 580 cases from 21 different provinces since opening in March 2010. INL’s program with IDLO works to strengthen the Kabul unit, and also supports six new VAW Units at provincial prosecutor’s offices nationwide.
This contribution is a supplement to the $12.1 million, 2-year program that INL funded in December 2010, entitled: “Supporting the National Justice Sector Strategy of Afghanistan: Improving Security, Legal Rights and Legal Services for the Afghan People.”
IDLO has operated in Afghanistan since 2001. It supported the Independent National Legal Training Center (INLTC) since its inception; partnered with the Office of the Attorney General to establish Afghanistan’s first VAW Unit in 2010; and supported the establishment of the Legal Aid Organization of Afghanistan (LAOA), which now provides legal aid services in 25 provinces under the INL-funded program.
The International Development Law Organization is an intergovernmental organization that promotes legal, regulatory and institutional reform to advance economic and social development in transitional and developing countries. Founded in 1983 and one of the pioneers of rule of law assistance, IDLO uses its access to governments and interest groups of different backgrounds, as well as its expertise and vast stakeholder network, to create opportunity for those most in need.