Strategic Advocacy for Human Rights (SAHR) is a non-profit human rights "law firm" that aims to increase women’s access to justice through law reform, advocacy and strategic litigation. SAHR primarily works in Afghanistan and India and has contributed to several instrumental petitions and legal reform projects to uphold the rights of women. SAHR's approach to justice is founded on a gendered perspective of justice and one that is survivor-centred.
Throughout 2016, the UQ Pro Bono Centre partnered with SAHR on two projects. UQ law students collated global best practices on drafting legislation to criminalise all forms of violence against women and to provide survivor-centred remedies. The students also researched Commonwealth case law to collate legal arguments for the defence of battered women who murder their spouses after suffering prolonged violence.
This involved compiling classic cases or fact scenarios and analysing how Afghan law could be interpreted to account for how battered women react when they murder as a result of the violence they had suffered. The team's research culminated in a ‘strategic advocacy guide’ for SAHR to reference when working with lawyers to run defences to murder for battered women in Afghanistan.
SAHR Director Natasha Latiff recognised the students’ work: “I must say I was very impressed with the work - and I am not easily impressed - so well done to all of you for putting together something so practical. You got my vision 100%.”
Eleven students have been involved in the SAHR project on a rolling basis. Law almuna Balawyn Jones is coordinating the students’ research, and says it is a fantastic way for her to continue her ongoing participation with the Centre, in a new role as a pro bono partner.
The eleven students involved in 2016 were: Camille Boileau, Cassandra McConaghy, Rachael Molnar, Claire Van Der List, Rachel Van Der Veen, Ryan Godfrey, Samuel White, Famin Ahmed, Angus Fraser, Francesca Musumeci and Madina Mohmood.
Several students were involved in more than one project.