The Civil Society and Human Rights Organisation (until 2011 the Civil Society and Human Rights Network) was founded in 2004 by 25 civil society and human rights organisations. Today CSHRO is organised as a nationwide network consisting of 92 member organisations, a Secretariat in Kabul and four regional centres. CSHRO has since its inception in 2004 had a close and fruitful partnership with the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR). Throughout DIHR and the Afghan civil society collaboration in the last 8 years the network has received the technical and organizational competence to organize constructive dialogue with the Afghan state on political, economic, social and cultural issues. During this period the network developed itself to a dynamic collaborator with the international partners in the fields of human rights. The network representatives actively participate to different national and international events in and out of the country to convey the message of civil society and human rights activist to the rest of the world.
Vision and Mission
CSHRO firmly believe that Afghanistan can become a society based on democracy and the rule of law in accor dance with human rights. This belief has become the networks vision so accordingly, CSHRO expect the Afghan society to become a nation, based on democracy and the rule of law in accordance with human rights, and a society, where the state regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion and social and political orientation provide equal opportunities for all, and where people are aware of their rights and claim them in safety and dignity
In order to work towards the realization of this ambitious task, the mission of CSHRO is to establish a capable human rights movement through strengthening of rights based civil society and by promoting human rights values, monitoring the human rights situation and disseminating information and by influencing policies in order to reach a society based on democracy, rule of law in accordance with human rights for all male and female in Afghanistan
The overall objective for the fourth program phase is to strengthen the further development of rights based civil society enabling it to:
- Promote the development of human rights in Afghanistan ;
- Foster increased responsiveness of public authorities to the needs of people
- Increase the awareness of both the public authorities and of the citizens of public participation as a method of governance and of access to influence
In the fourth program phase CSHRO has decided to focus on the strategic areas of intervention indicated below, in order to work towards the realization of the overall objective. The area of intervention , as well as outcomes and outputs have been designed in a joint process with active participation by CSHRO, member organisations and DIHR and reflect their joint visions and anticipation
Immediate Objective: To strengthen CSHRO as a professional and national human rights network for coordination and cooperation among human rights and civil society organisations, state institutions and international society.
CSHRO will in the next program phase continue its focus on coordination both internally in the network as well as externally. We find that a capable Secretariat, well functioning regional offices, well trained focal points in the provinces and well equipped resource centres in Kabul and the regions are the foundation for strengthening the coordination of civil society in Afghanistan . Furthermore, a well coordinated civil society forms the basis for a strengthened coordination with state institutions and international human rights actors. Through various activities we will therefore seek to further strengthen coordination internally within CSHRO with a main focus on the regions. But we also wish to strengthen coordination with international, regional and national human rights actors and will therefore pursue activities within this area.
Immediate Objective: To increase the institutional and thematic capacities of the CSHRO secretariat and of member and partner organisations.
CSHRO will continue to work on strengthening the capacity of its member organisations through institutional capacity building and project management capacity building. The quality and learning effect of the trainings and the effect on the human rights work of the member organisations will be closely monitored and documented.
During the fourth phase CSHRO will develop manuals on the rights of children, international mechanism of human rights and strategy planning. Consequently CSHRO will use these three manuals together with the four existing educational manuals to organise capacity building programmes. There is furthermore a need for capacities to be built with regard to human rights monitoring and reporting in order to enable fact-based advocacy initiatives.
Immediate objective: The majority of people in Afghanistan are aware of the relevance and positive importance of key human rights issues
Increasing human rights awareness remains an important component for the promotion of human rights in Afghanistan . CSHRO has in its previous phases used a variety of media options in order to reach a broad audience: weekly radio programs, a human rights page in a weekly magazine, the professional human rights magazine Angara and the publishing of human rights books and journals. CSHRO has also worked to enrich its human rights website. These numerous activities have in the previous phases proved to be effective and will therefore be continued in the fourth phase. More focus will be put on coordinating the media releases with the ongoing advocacy efforts.
Immediate objective: CSHRO has been able to put key human rights issues on the national agenda and the government has been held accountable for its commitments to international human rights law.
Monitoring of the human rights situation is one the most important preconditions for human rights implementation in Afghanistan . It allows the civil society to hold government accountable to international human rights commitments and it creates an overview of human rights violation in Afghanistan . Chapter two of the Afghan Constitution guarantees the human rights values for the Afghan people. However these human rights values are not fully integrated into the national action programs. CSHRO will monitor the implementation of human rights values guaranteed by the national and international legislation. This will be carried out through a joint civil society human rights annual report and through the development of two analyses: one on the status of incorporation of international law into the code of civil law in Afghanistan ; and one analysis on the status of protection in national Afghan law of the rights of the child.
Immediate objective: CSHRO has had a concrete impact on the governmental policies in relation to key human rights issues hereby increasing the opportunities for female participation in central Afghanistan .
Human rights advocacy has become a core activity of CSHRO. CSHRO understands advocacy as a tool for mobilizing people and for conducting constructive dialogues with the aim of influencing or changing governmental policies in order to improve the human rights situation in Afghanistan .
During the third phase CSHRO has worked with advocacy both with regards to access to information and with regards to combating domestic violence. Concerning access to information, CSHRO worked heavily on civil society driven law reform process in relation to access to information and has developed a methodology for this type of process. At present the access to information draft law has been sent by CSHRO to the government bodies for further improvement. The CSHRO intends continuing pursuing of the passing of the access to information law through lobbying and advocacy programs. Concerning combating domestic violence, CSHRO worked for the reduction of domestic violence in the Herat province of Afghanistan through advocacy initiatives. Building on these experiences CSHRO intends in the fourth phase to conduct a campaign in the central provinces of Afghanistan aiming at improving female participation in public life. Furthermore, CSHRO will pursue human rights advocacy by targeting the Afghan government through active participating in the UN examinations on the situation in Afghanistan .
Some CSHRO main role in the country
- In the fields of Peace building programs in Afghanistan CSHRO constantly organizes conflict prevention programs. The network developed a conflict prevention and peace making educational manual. According to the manual CSHRO organizes broadly training for the Afghan civil society and state institutions to promote peace building culture in Afghanistan . Based on the manual a local community in the central area of Afghanistan (in Bamyan province) was organized to meet regularly to prevent local conflicts and promote peace among other local communities.
- The CSHRO believes that democracy is the only useful mechanism for state building programs in Afghanistan . CSHRO has developed educational material to debate democracy nationwide across the country. During the debates on democracy CSHRO regional offices involve the religious leaders and influential figures to discus the issue of democratization in Afghanistan . CSHRO has allocated two human rights school for human rights defender on localization (Afghanisation) of democracy in Afghanistan . During the past four elections CSHRO actively organized training for the Afghan civil society on the role of election and importance of political rights amongst Afghan population. Accordingly CSHRO representatives actively participated in the monitoring teams of mentioned elections.
- In the fields of human rights education CSHRO developed four educational manuals. The manuals deal with human rights fundamental standards, rights of women, transitional justice, rights of children, election and the role of political rights peace and reconciliation. Within the Executive Secretariat of CSHRO a human rights educational unit is developed. The unit coordinates 100 trainers across the country to organize human rights education based on the mentioned manuals. The CSHRO trainers and manuals are broadly used by libraries, schools, universities and academic institutions across the country. Today CSHRO trainers play an important role in promotion and protection of human rights in all over the country. CSHRO annually organize around 120 workshops, seminars, conferences and analytical symposiums in 23 provinces of Afghanistan . According to CSHRO surveys the human rights training programs have strengthened the role of civil society organizations in promotion of human rights in the remote areas.
- CSHRO believes that one the most effective role of civil society is to influence the political power. Based on this understanding CSHRO is a part of the reform programs in Afghanistan . During the past 10 years representatives of CSHRO actively participated to national Loya Jergas, Peace Jerga and main national events of Afghanistan . The CSHRO continually releases statements, messages and open letter addressing the national and international communities on the human rights situation in Afghanistan . The messages of CSHRO play an important role in the political, social and cultural situation in the country. During the past 6 years CSHRO was an active part of four new legislations in the country. CSHRO has developed a draft of Access to Information Law that is sent to the government for further development. CSHRO has learned very useful lessons on how to develop new programs on legal reforms. CSHRO actively collaborates with the members of Parliament and Supreme Court and the Afghan Government on the legal reforms.
- There are 4 umbrella organizations that work for civil society strengthening in Afghanistan . CSHRO is the only umbrella organization that works with human rights promotion in Afghanistan with clear mandate, role, responsibility and strategy. CSHRO has worked closely with the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC). Based on this collaboration a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was developed by both institution on the roles and responsibilities of both institutions in the fields of human rights promotion in Afghanistan . CSHRO has also developed MoU with Afghanistan Civil Society Forum on mutual collaboration and understanding. Today CSHRO cooperates with all umbrella organizations and networks in a comprehensible and transparent way.
- CSHRO human rights radio program “The Voice” is frequently airs human rights information for the Afghan population across the country. The human rights radio programs debates human rights violations in Afghanistan . Meanwhile the radio program broadcasts human rights educational series in a simple language for the afghan population. During the radio programs the representatives of government, parliament and civil society response to the questions of radio listeners across the country. According to Good Morning Afghanistan survey the human rights radio programs were listened by more then 60% of Afghan population. The radio gets hundreds of letters, responses and suggestions annually from different parts of the country. The CSHRO home page www.cshrn.af is a useful resource of information for Afghan civil society as well human rights defenders. The home page updates human rights situation in Afghanistan , disseminates information on human rights situation in Afghanistan and organizes human rights educational programs. CSHRO also publishes human rights Journal so called “ Angara ” that produce academic and analytical debates, researches, articles. CSHRO publishes a human rights page in family magazine Killid. Killid reaches 25000 families every week. The human rights page is formulated in a simple and understandable language for the Afghan families.
- CSHRO program in Heraat city on reduction of domestic violence is a good practice on the role of civil society in promotion of human rights respect amongst family members. During the past two years CSHRO organized a campaign on family violence issue in western part of the country. The baseline studies showed that the campaign played a magnificent role in activation of role of women in the families in the Heraat province. The number of family violence registered by state and civil society organizations increased. (before that women in the families did not know about registration)
- DIHR has been actively supported CSHRO since 2004. During this period DIHR built the managerial and thematic capacity of CSHRO. Thanks to DIHR-CSHRO partnership a useful strategy for CSHRO was created. The CSHRO Secretariat received capacity building programs in Afghanistan and Denmark to execute CSHRO programs. A transparent and accountable Secretariat operates the funding of CSHRO in a dynamic way. CSHRO has developed a useful structure for itself. The General Assembly of CSHRO elects the Board, the Evaluation Committee and Statement Committee of CSHRO. The structure of CSHRO is functioning energetically.