Breathing Life into the Constitution of Afghanistan



McGill's Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism (CHRLP) and Women Living under Muslim Laws (WLUML) invite you to the fourth event in our joint webinar series this year, with panelists Ms. Belquis Ahmadi, Justice Najla Ayoubi, Ms. Zarizana Abdul Aziz. Ms. Naureen Shameem is our respondent, and Professor Vrinda Narain will moderate.

All are welcome. Questions may be submitted in advance to [at]



Belquis Ahmadi is a Senior Programme Officer at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington DC. She has over 20 years of experience working in Afghanistan on issues related to gender, human rights, civil society development, rule of law, governance and democracy. Ahmadi’s extensive experience includes senior management positions under large USAID programs in Afghanistan, evaluation of USAID gender and democracy and governance programming, and analysis and design of gender and human rights programming, and training and mentoring Afghan civil society and government candidates. She has also published extensively on democracy, governance and women’s rights in Afghanistan. Ahmadi earned her LLM in International Human Rights Law from Georgetown University Law Center and her LLB from Kabul University.

The Honorable Justice Najla Ayoubi is Chief Operating Officer at Every Woman Treaty, which is based in Seattle. Every Woman Treaty is a global coalition of more than 1,700 women’s rights advocates, lawyers, scholars, and organizations in 128 countries working on a campaign for a global treaty to end violence against women and girls. Justice Ayoubi played a prominent role in the Constitution-making process of Afghanistan. She served as a Legal Advisor for the State Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs of Afghanistan, Commissioner at the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan and Commissioner of Joint Electoral Management Body. She was the Senior State Attorney of Afghanistan, State Attorney of the Parwan province, and Judge at the Parwan Provincial Court. She has worked with the Asia Foundation Afghanistan in various capacities. She served as a Board Member of Open Society Afghanistan as well as the Country Director of Open Society Afghanistan. She is a former Board member of Afghan Women’s Network, Afghanistan Research & Evaluation Unit, Afghan Education Production Organization, Co-Chair of Board in Afghanistan Institute for Civil Society, and Member of the Board of Trustees at Afghan Professional Network.

Zarizana Abdul Aziz is Director of the Due Diligence Project (DDP), which is dedicated to reimagining effective implementation of women’s human rights at the international, national, community and personal levels. DDP has a targeted mandate to undertake in-depth analysis to sharpen and refine State accountability standards and work with key stakeholders (governments, judiciary, industry actors) on implementing human rights and constitutional standards and norms. Zarizana specialises in legal and policy reform focusing on intersections between international human rights, gender, culture, and national legal regimes. From 2017-2019, Zarizana engaged in judicial training and capacity-building in Afghanistan – training 100 judges, 80 prosecutors and 25 judicial trainers. Prior to that, she developed technical briefs to support the Elimination of Violence against Women Law on complex Islamic/shari’a concepts/issues from a gender justice, Islamic/shari’a, CEDAW and socio-legal perspectives. Zarizana is also adjunct professor at George Washington University, Washington DC, USA.


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