- managed the logistics for the workshop Kate has been teaching on criminal justice, with a focus on gender issues;
- delivered my own 'introduction to human rights' workshop for all the staff of our new Badghis office;
- monitored and supported the Attorney General’s “Campaign Against Torture” as it was carried out in Badghis; and
- followed up on a series of individual human rights cases with police, prosecutors and the Chief Judge.
We’ve been in Badghis almost a week now and since this post is growing far too long, I’ll just give you a few vignettes. The head of the CID from one remote district bumped into an Afghan colleague of mine after two days in the workshop and told him “I have learned so much. I now know that it is not a crime for a woman to run away from home and I swear to God that I will never again arrest a woman for this reason”. After a guest lecture from our friends in the civilian component of the Spanish PRT (a nurse and a lawyer) on forensic medicine (including the unreliability of virginity tests, for which I give up big respect to my fantastic assistant who had to translate this difficult session) several of the prosecutors asked the nurse if he would come back to give them a more comprehensive workshop on these issues. One night I watched as Kate spent several hours, until 10 o’clock at night, perfecting the design of the completion certificates. She understands that these certificates will be treasured by all participants and will become a feature of their curriculum vitae. She also understood that some colour and good quality card would be considered a sign of the importance of the workshop. Every single moment of the 'introduction to human rights' workshops I ran for our new staff was a gift. They were open to everyone, including the security guards, the drivers, the radio operators, and the cleaners. Along with the pleasure of getting to know them all a bit better I was very grateful for a wonderful illustrated version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights published by our head office in Kabul.The images are so well conceived and executed that the participants who couldn't read were still able to follow. In fact, one of the my favorite moments was when I directed everyone to the page which set out the right to have an effective remedy for violations of the rights set out in the Declaration and asked the participants what they thought the State was obliged to do based on this right. One of the female cleaners was the first to respond, describing perfectly what she saw in the picture and in doing so giving an excellent answer. Another highlight was when I gave a scenario in which I was monitoring a human rights violation in Qala-e-Naw and asked the participants to tell me everything I was doing wrong. This story caused much amusement, and even the shyest participant (a lovely, gentle security guard who was also illiterate) found the confidence to make a good point about how such monitoring should be conducted. My amazing Human Rights Assistant, R, and I would finish up the two workshops each afternoon and then go off to do our monitoring work – visiting the prison, interviewing victims, meeting with the prosecutors, the Department of Women’s Affairs and eventually the Chief Judge. After one meeting we were walking back to the compound in the falling dusk and I asked R if he was tired. He smiled and told me that he gets tired when he feels we are not making any difference. But if he sees that things have moved forward even one centimetre for one person then he is not tired. I knew exactly what he meant.