Justice and Human Rights in Afghanistan (JHRA)

UNDP Afghanistan / Mitra Modaressi: To increase female participation in national policy making, JHRA supports the Ministry of Justice in improving the work condition of its female employees by providing vocational and leadership training courses.

Following decades of unrest and civil war, Afghanistan is in the process of rebuilding an effective national judicial system.  While the Afghan constitution enshrines fair trial principles, the majority of the population still has little or no access to judicial institutions.

Many courts are understaffed. Judges and prosecutors lack proper training. There is interference by warlords and politicians, which sustains a culture of impunity. Many citizens see the formal justice institutions as serving the interests of the powerful at the expenses of the weak. Due to illiteracy and poverty, women and the most vulnerable are often denied an equal and fair access to justice.

More than 80 percent of disputes are settled by Afghanistan’s traditional justice bodies, such as jirgas and shuras. This happens at times in violation of human rights, in particular the rights of women. An example of this is the practice of baad by which a woman from the offender’s family is married to the victim’s close relative to settle a dispute.


Establishing a transparent and accountable judicial administration is crucial  for the achievement of stability in the country.

UNDP’s Justice and Human Rights in Afghanistan (JHRA) project focuses on bolstering the credibility of the State justice system, while recognizing that Afghanistan’s traditional justice system plays a major role in resolving conflicts though, at times, in violation of international human rights obligations. The JHRA Project supports the overall strategy of the Government to increase the Afghan public’s trust in State justice institutions.

JHRA seeks to provide the necessary foundation for the reestablishment of State legitimacy between the Afghan State and its people.

JHRA works in three main areas:

Establishing high-level coordination mechanisms for developing policy and legislation in State justice institutions. Activities include providing capacity development and technical expertise to the Legislative Drafting Department, Policy and Planning Department, Translation Board and Human Rights Support Unit (HRSU) of the Ministry of Justice. A national-level platform will be provided across justice institutions to facilitate greater coordination.

Mechanisms for providing quality access to justice services to vulnerable groups are established and functional. Activities include establishing an independent Legal Aid Grant Facility (LAGF) and its supporting mechanisms in order to provide free legal aid to disadvantaged citizens, consolidating communication and coordination between State and non-State justice providers at provincial and district levels, and enhancing the professional capacity of State justice providers.

Public participation processes and knowledge base for improving access to justice and human rights compliance established. Activities include facilitating national discussions and policy dialogues on socio-economic rights and community dispute resolution mechanisms, increasing advocacy and monitoring capacity of civil society organizations, media, think-tanks and the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) as well as strengthening public awareness on human rights and the role of the judicial system through the Ministry of Justice’s Legal Awareness Unit and media institutions.

What have we accomplished so far

  • JHRA-II supported the drafting of National Priority Programme on Law and Justice for All (NPP5). The draft was endorsed in June 2013 by both government and international stakeholders at the Senior Officials’ Meeting in Tokyo.
  • JHRA-II  supported the AIHRC to outline a two-year action plan that informs the Commission on how it should conduct its activities through 2013-2014. This action plan identifies relevant needs and gaps of different units and departments within the commission. This document serves as the basis for the formulation of the Commission’s next strategic plan.
  • A memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Ministry of Justice, the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association (AIBA) and UNDP to establish and implement a legal aid grant facility.
  • JHRA-II  has conducted a capacity assessment of the Elimination of Violence against Women units, which are attached to Chief Prosecutor’s Office, to identify existing gaps and priority areas of engagement for JHRA’s work on elimination of violence against women at provincial level.
  • JHRA-II  initiated a project with the Kabul Municipal Corporation to activate an inter-ministerial committee which coordinates closely with street vendors’ associations to identify legal frameworks for the legal protection of street vendors in Kabul. A Technical Coordination Committee on the same issue was established in Herat under the chairmanship of the Mayor.
  • JHRA-II  supported a Public Perception Survey in the provinces of Kabul, Herat, Nangarhar and Balkh to assess citizens’ knowledge on the roles and mandates of State justice institutions, and evaluate their level of confidence and trust in the State justice system.

Who Finances it?

Donor name

Amount contributed per year in US$















Delivery in previous fiscal year in US$

Dec 2013


Dec 2012


At a Glance
Start Date:
January 2013
End Date:
December 2015
Geographic coverage:
Herat, Balkh, Nangarhar
Focus Area:
Crisis Prevention and Recovery
Target 8: Develop a global partnership for development and Target 3: Promote Gender equality and Empower women
Programme Officer:
Hedayatullah Mohammadi
Chief Technical Advisor:
Doel Mukerjee
Implementing Partners:
Ministry of Justice, Supreme Court, Attorney General’s Office, Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association.
Implementation Modality:
Direct Implementation ghanistan
Other Key Partners:
Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, EUPOL and UNAMA.
Total Budget:
US$ 34,402,039
Open Data

Detailed information on JHRA and more than 6,000+ UNDP development projects in 177 countries and territories worldwide.

JHRA Project Summaries

The Project Summary of Justice and Human Rights in Afghanistan (JHRA) covers in a two-page PDF document the issues, responses and achievements of this UNDP project in Afghanistan.

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  • Justice and Human Rights in Afghanistan Project (JHRA) End of Project Evaluation Final Report English