fbpx Transitional Justice: Lessons from Afghanistan on the Promotion, Protection of Human Rights and Access to Justice--Session 14 | Harvard Kennedy School
This event has passed

Date and Location

February 22, 2023
12:00 PM - 1:15 PM EST
B-l-4 Hauser Conference Room



​Dr. Sima Samar (bio), former chairperson of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), will lead a study group “Transitional Justice: Lessons from Afghanistan on the Promotion, Protection of Human Rights and Access to Justice." In this study group, with Afghanistan as a case study, we will explore the role of national human rights institutions, public consultations, documentation of human rights violations, protection of victims, and accountability mechanisms. Active discussion of assigned readings will be encouraged.

Afghanistan has been at war for 44 years, with the 1978 and codetta and 1979 invasion of the country by the USSR, the civil war in the 1990s, the takeover by the Taliban regime in 1996, the U.S. and NATO involvement beginning in 2021, and the fall of the Afghan government to the Taliban in 2021. Under Dr. Samar's leadership, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission from 1978 to 2001 conducted an extensive transitional justice national consultation with more than 6,000 respondents using questionnaires and focus groups about whether and how they had suffered, which forms of redress and justice they wished to see enacted. The public consultation process, which culminated in the Call for Justice, was ground-breaking in its approach and its methodology has become the gold standard in the field by practitioners of state building and conflict resolution and those seeking to achieve transitional and long-term justice in communities ravaged by violence.


Wednesday, February 22, 12-1:15p | Role of National Human Rights Institutions

Feb 22 Reading: Paris Principles

​Wednesday, March 22, 12-1:15p | Public Consultations on Transitional Justice in Post-Conflict Countries

​March 22 Reading: Call for Justice: A National Consultation on Past Human Rights Violations in Afghanistan

​Wednesday, March 29, 12-1:15p | Documentation and Protection of Victims

​March 29 Reading​: TBD

Wednesday, April 12, 12-1:15p | Domestic and International Mechanisms of Accountability and Justice

April 12 Reading: International Criminal Court Statute and Mandate Rome Statute of the International Court

Speakers and Presenters

​Dr. Sima Samar, former Chair, Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission; Spring 2023 CPL Hauser Leader; 2022 Carr Center Fellow