AQJS - Access to Quality Justice Services

Despite significant progress, Afghan justice institutions face challenges in the delivery of justice services, especially to vulnerable populations, such as women, children and prisoners. This project implemented by the United Nations Development Program provides support to both institutional and citizen engagement to increase access to quality justice for all citizens and particularly to vulnerable groups and strengthen the justice institutions to fulfil their constitutional and human rights obligations.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Conflict & fragility
Human rights
Conflict prevention
Legal and judicial development
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)
01.01.2020 - 31.12.2022
CHF  6’050’000

Afghanistan’s justice institutions have made significant progress since 2001. Key legal instruments have been adopted, important services extended, and vital legal institutions revived or created. At least three broad challenges remain: promoting respect for women and girls, the actual delivery of justice services, especially to vulnerable populations, and increasing the sometimes still limited capacity of Afghan justice institutions.

The project will contribute to strengthening the trust between the citizens and the justice sector by improving access to quality justice services for all. In accordance with Afghanistan's priorities for justice sector reforms, recognized through the National Justice and Judicial Reform Plan (2017– 2021), this project will provide strategic technical and institutional support to ensure the inclusiveness, transparency, well-coordinated and respect for the protection of human rights of citizens to be enhanced across the entire justice sector. 

Objectives Increased access to quality justice for all and reduced ‘justice gap’ in Afghanistan.
Target groups

-    Ministry of Justice as the main state partner; 

-    Supreme court (gender unit and Elimination of Violence against Women court); 

-    Attorney General Office; 

-    Ministry of Women Affairs; 

-    Afghan people, particularly vulnerable groups such as women, children, prisoners and people with disabilities.

Medium-term outcomes

i    Access to quality justice services for Afghan men and women is improved;

ii    Justice and judicial institutions assisted to achieve their National Justice and Judicial Reform Plan (2017-2021) implementation.


Expected results:  

-    National justice institutions increased capacity and cooperation; 

-    Access to Legal Aid services for indigent and vulnerable groups specifically women, children and prisoners; 

-    A repository of positive and best practices of the customary justice systems developed for widespread advocacy through a positive deviance approach.

Results from previous phases:  

-    The previous project Afghanistan Access to Justice (AA2J) supported the establishment of 23 Elimination of Violence against Women Courts in 23 provinces;

-    The Human Rights Support Unit which was established with the support AA2J has been integrated within the Ministry of Justice and a dedicated department has been created; 

-    Afghanistan adopted a new Penal Code (2018), which is in line with internationally accepted human rights standards;

-    Afghanistan submitted its Universal Periodic Review report and several other reports on the implementation of international human rights treaties.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
Private sector
United Nations Organization (UNO)
  • Foreign private sector South/East
  • United Nations Development Programme

Other partners
United Nations Development Program (UNDP) through a bilateral contract.
Coordination with other projects and actors International Development Law Organization, German International Cooperation, Italian Development Cooperation, Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and the Law and Order Trust Fund (LOTFA).
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    6’050’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    2’000’000
Project phases Phase 1 01.01.2020 - 31.12.2022   (Current phase)