I work at the NGO Strategic Advocacy for Human Rights (SAHR) which is a truly diverse women-led team of lawyers, activists, and scholars dedicated to advancing women’s rights. Our journey started a decade ago and our mission is to open pathways to transformative justice for and alongside survivors of gender violence. At the moment, we have operations in Afghanistan and India.
Our work focuses on defending the rights of survivors in court, securing their reparations and holding abusers accountable, whether through crimes’ prosecution or restorative measures outside the formal legal system like truth and reconciliation initiatives.
In order for the marginalized ones in the communities we serve to have their voices heard and their authority acknowledged, we offer training, workshops, and other resources to facilitate their own advocacy because equalizing power is the only way to eliminate gender violence.
We draw on international human rights law to challenge discriminatory legal systems, overcome harmful notions of women’s inferiority and transform the power dynamics that underlie and perpetuate the violations, because women’s lives matter.
Since 2013, we are registered in New York as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and we aim to inspire the next generation to continue the fight for the right of all women to live free from fear and violence and with dignity and equal opportunity. In San Francisco, at the moment our SAHR team is working towards advocating for the importance of defending the lives of the women of our communities, raising awareness about the legal, at times dangerous work we carry out on the front lines as well as expand our base of supporters, members and generous donors.
To give you an idea of a recent development, of which are very proud of, SAHR wonderful co-founder Natasha Latiff has worked very hard recently in Kabul, with some of the bravest women lawyers from a local nonprofit, called Medica Afghanistan to organize a conference that put an end to virginity testing. The results brought justice to over 40 clients who were subjected to this harrowing experience. They have filed petitions to strike out evidence obtained from these virginity examinations and filed official letters to the Ministries to put an effective stop. During the conference that was held last week, they had discussions around the physical, psychosocial and social harms. SAHR stressed that women suspects can never be said to consent to virginity examinations especially when consent is extracted in coercive circumstances. Behind this conference was Humaira Rasouli, a passionate leader of the team who through her vision, has made so much of women’s rights work possible in the country.