This report is part of CRIN's access to justice for children project, looking at the status of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in national law, the status of children involved in legal proceedings, the legal means to challenge violations of children’s rights and the practical considerations involved in challenging violations.
Afghanistan ratified the CRC on 28 March 1994. The Convention’s status in Afghan law is unclear and it appears that it would not take precedence over conflicting national laws. Children under 18 lack legal capacity and therefore must rely on their parents or guardians to challenge violations of their rights. Legal aid is available to indigent criminal defendants, as well as women and children defendants in civil suits. Public interest cases and collection litigation are possible. Juvenile court proceedings are confidential and must usually be resolved within 10 days. As the courts rarely have access to written law, they regularly resort to applying Sharia law to resolve the disputes brought before them. Judicial corruption and the government’s frequent interference with court cases hinder access to justice.