- the application of a survey, designed to capture quantitative data and test for preferences to 4151 respondents; and
- the convening of over 200 focus group discussions with over 2000 participants, designed to capture qualitative data and test for perceptions.
The consultation took eight months and covered 32 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces as well as refugee populations in Iran and Pakistan. I highly recommend the resulting report “A Call for Justice” to anyone with an interest in transitional justice in Afghanistan. But I do warn you that it is disturbing to read. A pdf file of the report can be accessed here Based on the findings reported in “A Call for Justice”, the Government of Afghanistan, in cooperation with the AIHRC and UNAMA (the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan), developed the Action Plan for Peace, Reconciliation and Justice. It was presented and agreed upon at the Hague Conference on Peace, Reconciliation and Justice in Afghanistan on 6-7 June 2005. Although the Government of Afghanistan adopted the plan in early 2006 the President did not formally launch it until 10 December 2006. Where do I fit into this? Part of my job description is to promote and support the implementation of this Action Plan – by raising awareness of the plan amongst the general public, the media, and local authorities. Some of the Afghan people with whom I discuss this plan want more than the plan offers – more immediate judicial action to bring violators to account, for example, where the action plan proposes more progressive actions starting with memorials and the development of shared historical narratives.
I feel deep sympathy for those victims of gross human rights violations who want immediate justice – but I also trust the wisdom of those people who have developed this plan, taking into account the current political and security environment in Afghanistan. Essentially, although my heart longs to meet these cries for justice with the response that they yearn for, my head tells me that people who know so much more than me have so carefully mapped out this path, and that we need to follow it step by step.