THE CONTEXT WE ARE WORKING IN
Currently, over 150 countries have at least one law that discriminates against women. Women and girls all over the world are especially vulnerable to violence and punished for their efforts to claim justice.
As a result of gender-bias in multiple justice systems in the world, crimes against women are not adequately investigated and prosecuted. When a woman is raped or otherwise abused, she is often blamed for it. These cases involve the most atrocious women's rights violations, including acid attacks, rape, pedophilia, beatings, sexual abuse, forced prostitution and marriage, even forced suicide.
Additionally, the justice system is often a site for further violence and re-trauma. Cases hang for years on end. Victims are forced to recount their stories again and again. They are inappropriately questioned and humiliated through multiple physical exams and intimidated to silence.
Without access to a fair trial or other recourse to justice, she is powerless to enforce her rights as an equal member of society. And so the self-perpetuating cycle of gender inequality and violence against women continues.
We are unique because our mission goes beyond case representation.
Through our petitions and interventions, we are
institutionalizing gender-sensitive processes into the justice chain.
We target systemic issues which allow gender-discrimination to thrive in the first place.
We directly represent survivors of widespread or systemic sexual violence and take on their cases in diverse settings from war-torn nations such as Afghanistan, South Sudan and Kashmir to peaceful contexts such as Vanuatu and India, making submissions before domestic legal systems and international tribunals.
Our legal team comprises practitioners qualified to practice in multiple jurisdictions and when necessary, we also work closely with local lawyers.
Recognizing that sexual offences are the hardest crimes to prosecute, we also provide training and other support to enhance the technical competencies of field human rights lawyers and defenders. We do this through our flagship “Gender Justice Legal Defenders Fellowship Program” and our empowerment workshops “Tactical Approaches to Prosecuting Rape”.
Part of our mission is also to serve as a platform for bold actions, precedent-setting cases and strategic alliances with those fighting on the frontlines to pin accountability to powerful sexual predators. We fulfill it by bringing together lawyers and judges as well as other individuals, collectives, and organizations dedicated to gender justice. This is how we close the gender justice gap and build equity for survivors.
As feminist legal practitioners, we believe it is our duty to listen to the voices of the those who are rendered the most vulnerable and to put into practice their ideas about how to improve the situation.
"Very few organisations have the subject expertise that we do. We have been doing this for 10 years.
We pore through every precedent, every legal journal, NGO report. We leave no stone unturned. That's my guarantee.
That's SAHR's guarantee."
Natasha Latiff -Founder and Legal Director
Over the past 10 years, our team has put in 20,000 pro bono hours with unwavering commitment to practice the law through a feminist lens.
Our legal interventions have brought justice to hundreds of survivors of gender-based violence. We have secured the release of women imprisoned for moral crimes such as adultery, some as a result of being raped.
We have also trained over 124 defenders and activists on how to strategically litigate cases of crimes against women, challenging biased stereotypes, victim-blaming attitudes as well as oppressive patriarchal norms that fuel the endless spirals of violence. These lawyers and defenders have used SAHR’s training to represent and raise awareness to over 385 survivors across the globe and bring perpetrators of gender violence to justice.This is one of our proudest accomplishments.
In 2019, we created our flagship program, the Gender Justice Defenders Fellowship with the goal of strengthening our engagement with human rights defenders and lawyers, seeking justice for sexual and gender-based crimes worldwide. Through the Program, we fund lawyers and HRDs and support them with dedicated and specialised legal expertise to secure justice for survivors.
Over the last decade, we served survivors at the margins, who had to flee and leave everything behind and who have been silenced, abused, and wrongfully imprisoned. Almost completely on a pro-bono basis, we have:
Provided more than 20,000 hours of legal services to some of the most vulnerable survivors of gender violence from Afghanistan,Libya, Nigeria, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Palestine, Syria and Holland.
Trained 124 human rights lawyers and defenders on women’s rights law and gender-competent strategic litigation. These lawyers have used our training to provide legal representation and awareness to over 385 survivors.
Supported 300 community leaders to defend women’s civil and property rights, to end child marriage and promote informed consent in marriage. We also secured the release of women who were imprisoned on bogus charges of ‘moral crimes’ and ‘adultery’.
Assisted 24 lawyers and human rights defenders -[including Technical Law Reform Working Groups such as the Penal Law Reform Committee in Afghanistan] to enact gender-competent laws, and, use those laws to bring perpetrators of gender violence to justice.
Won more than $100,000 USD in reparations working with different clients, firms, local groups and different task forces working on cases of extreme violence, rape and torture in Sri Lanka, Hong Kong and Afghanistan.