Long-standing land disputes spanning generations are common in Nangarhar Province. A jirgamar (elder) from Behsud recently recounted a decades-long dispute over a small piece of land situated between two area qwams (tribes). Just recently, an altercation among qwams reignited old arguments, leaving at least five people dead and 30 wounded near Jalalabad, the provincial capital of Nangarhar.
This jirgamar is one of 80 influential jirgamaran (elders) from Behsud and Sukh Rod districts invited to discuss disagreements over land and other disputes destabilizing their communities. The eldersâ meeting was a first, organized by USAIDâs Rule of Law Stabilization ProgramâInformal Component, to build a network among elders serving traditional justice roles in Nangarhar. The program supports community-based dispute resolution, linking both traditional and state justice sectors to build capacity and strengthen the rule of law in Afghanistan.
âThese sessions create relations between jirgamaran,â said elder Mawlawi Tawakal through a translator. âThrough these relationships, we can resolve disputes that are taking a long time to resolve inside villages by ourselves.â Tawakal is also a member of the Behsud district Independent Directorate of Local Governance shura.
The meeting began with jirgamaran discussing their villagesâ community-based dispute resolution process. Spin-geree, Pashto for âwhite beards,â compared various ways they record jirgasâ decisions, and how these are shared with state justice offices. The jirgamaran agreed that meetings should include standardizing forms that can be registered with courts, helping to establish links to the formal justice sector.
âThese meetings build links between tribes,â Mohammad Arif, a jirgamar from Behsud district, said. âDiscussions identify problems and strengthen relations between the formal justice system and jirga members.â
USAID will sponsor a similar meeting for women jirgamaran in Jalalabad in mid-September. The womenâs meeting will focus on strengthening womenâs roles in the community-based dispute resolution process.
June 11, 2014
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