Afghanistan Programme

RWI’s Afghanistan programme started in September 2021 with the hosting of three Afghan research fellows, financially supported by the Swedish international development agency. In late 2022, the programme was expanded and refocused to also include the hosting of the then newly appointed UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan; an explicit focus of research fellows contributing to the UNSR mandate, and a series of roundtables and forums around priority issues for the UNSR. As of 2024, new donors have joined the programme (see below), allowing RWI to both scale up existing strategies, and to add new ones, where engagement with Afghan HRDs is a key new component.

The current programme phase, 2024-2026, continues to support the mandate of UNSR Richard Bennett, who is also Visiting Professor at RWI.

Richard Bennett - UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan


The programme aim is to contribute to better-informed strategies and initiatives to promote and protect human rights in Afghanistan, with the long-term objective of strengthening conditions for inclusive governance, peace, and respect for human rights and gender equality in the country.

Concretely, we do this by supporting:

  1. Increased access to concrete recommendations and potential solutions, aimed to more effectively promote human rights and gender equality in Afghanistan;
  2. Increased scholarship and academic discourse on the human rights situation, including in relation to gender equality, in Afghanistan;
  3. Maintained and/or enhanced capacities of Afghan researchers to produce high quality research that contribute to monitoring, promoting and protecting human rights in Afghanistan; and
  4. Increased capacities of Afghan human rights defenders and civil society to work for human rights, gender equality and inclusive governance in Afghanistan, including through engagement with UN mechanisms.

Get in touch

Helena Olsson

Helena Olsson

Afghanistan Programme Director

Phone: + 46 46 222 12 20
E-mail: helena.olsson@rwi.lu.se

Helena has a Master Degree in Political Science with focus on Human Rights, Peace and Democracy from Lund University. She has worked with development, human rights and in the humanitarian field since 2001, for Swedish Embassies/Sida and UNHCR in Central and South America; at Sida Headquarters Humanitarian Team in Stockholm; and subsequently with academic institutions and NHRIs in Sub-Saharan Africa; Middle East and North Africa; and South/Southeast Asia since she joined the Institute in 2010.

Between 2016 and 2018 she led the development and start-up of a new regional Asia team and office in Jakarta, and of regional programmes focusing on human rights and environment/climate change, as well as the integration of human rights into Agenda 2030 plans in the region.

She was also team leader of the thematic focus area People on the Move 2016-2017, and currently leads an internal working group of human rights and local governments.

Afghanistan Programme Team


Helena Olsson

Helena Olsson

Afghanistan Programme Director

Phone: + 46 46 222 12 20
E-mail: helena.olsson@rwi.lu.se

Helena has a Master Degree in Political Science with focus on Human Rights, Peace and Democracy from Lund University. She has worked with development, human rights and in the humanitarian field since 2001, for Swedish Embassies/Sida and UNHCR in Central and South America; at Sida Headquarters Humanitarian Team in Stockholm; and subsequently with academic institutions and NHRIs in Sub-Saharan Africa; Middle East and North Africa; and South/Southeast Asia since she joined the Institute in 2010.

Between 2016 and 2018 she led the development and start-up of a new regional Asia team and office in Jakarta, and of regional programmes focusing on human rights and environment/climate change, as well as the integration of human rights into Agenda 2030 plans in the region.

She was also team leader of the thematic focus area People on the Move 2016-2017, and currently leads an internal working group of human rights and local governments.

Richard Bennett

Richard Bennett

Visiting Professor, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan

Richard Bennett is a visiting professor to RWI. Mr. Bennet was appointed UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan in April 2022 and had his mandate extended a year this October.

Mr. Bennett has served in Afghanistan on several occasions, playing an important role in in the promotion of transitional justice, child rights, rule of law, rights of people with disabilities and a range of economic, social and cultural rights as well as in the protection of civilians and human rights defenders.

He has been a long-term adviser to the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and was in the past Chief of the Human Rights Service with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

He also conducted two missions in Afghanistan (2003-07 and 2018-19) as Representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and head of the human rights components of peacekeeping operations. A position which led him to work in Sierra Leone, Timor-Leste, and South Sudan.

Prior to joining the United Nations as a consultant on UN human rights assignments in Afghanistan, Myanmar and New York in 2019 Mr. Bennett worked for Amnesty International. He was first Director of its Asia-Pacific Program before becoming head of Amnesty’s United Nations Office in New York.

His other roles include being the Representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and head of OHCHR’s office in Nepal as well as Chief of Staff for the UN Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts on Sri Lanka and Special Adviser to the Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights in New York.

David Eile

David Eile

Senior Programme Officer

Phone: +46 46 222 12 58
E-mail: david.eile@rwi.lu.se

David Eile currently works as a Senior Programme Officer responsible for various projects under RWI’s Europe Office, focusing on different forms of academic cooperation in Europe and Cuba. Since joining RWI in 2006, David worked with various human rights programmes in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. David has an MA in Anthropology from Lund University and is a doctoral candidate in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Uppsala.

Massoud Adrakhsh

Massoud Adrakhsh

Programme Officer, Afghanistan Programme

Massoud Adrakhsh holds an MA in Politics and Security from the OSCE Academy and has more than five years of experience in project management and research.

Zoya Noori

Zoya Noori

Programme Associate, Afghanistan Programme

E-mail: zoya.noori@rwi.lu.se

Zoya Noori, Programme Associate, who has more than 15 years of working experience with international organizations including United Nations and educational institutions in Sweden, Afghanistan and Denmark. Most recently, she served United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) in Copenhagen, Denmark. She has a degree in Teaching as well as Diploma in Human Resources Management and Social Pedagogy and certificate in Education. Zoya will particularly focus and provide administrative and operational support to our Programme Afghanistan.

Mitra Tanomand

Mitra Tanomand

Research Fellow, RWI Afghanistan Programme

E-mail: Mitra.Tanomand@rwi.lu.se

Mitra Tanomand, a dedicated human rights advocate from Afghanistan, holds a Master of Arts & Humanities specializing in Gender Studies from the University of East Anglia, attained through the Chevening Scholarship. Currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Global Development with a focus on Education in the UK, Mitra is also a certified Project Management Professional (PMP)®.

With a background spanning over a decade in the human rights field, Mitra’s expertise encompasses gender and children affairs, human rights activities, research, Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E), as well as project development and management. Her research focuses on the critical issue of Gender-Based Violence in Afghanistan, utilizing a comprehensive critical discourse analysis approach. Proficient in feminist research methods, gender dynamics, social development, globalization, and business and development, Mitra brings a multifaceted skill set to her work.

Currently, Mitra is researching human rights issues in Afghanistan, focusing on girls’ education and “Unveiling the post-2021 Realities within Women’s Protection Shelters in Afghanistan: Navigating Challenges Amidst Socio-Political Shifts”.

Having worked primarily in national and international organizations, Mitra served as a Gender Consultant at Colombo Plan, making significant contributions to Women’s Shelters and Children Shelters projects in Afghanistan. Progressing in her career, she assumed the role of Chief Program Officer at The Colombo Plan, where she oversaw the Gender Affairs Program across Afghanistan. Her primary focus was advocating for women’s rights and combating gender-based violence.

As the founder and CEO of the Afghan Businesswomen Organization, a non-profit dedicated to women’s economic empowerment in Afghanistan, Mitra developed strategic business plans and managed projects aimed at empowering vulnerable women through income generation. Under her guidance, small to medium-sized home-based businesses were established in remote areas of Afghanistan. Mitra excelled in handling comprehensive research reports for fundraising and donor engagement.

With an unwavering commitment to human rights, gender studies, and community development, Mitra Tanomand stands as a beacon of change, contributing positively to critical issues in Afghanistan and beyond.

Maliha Shirzay

Maliha Shirzay

Research Fellow, RWI Afghanistan Programme

E-mail: malia.shir_mohammad@rwi.lu.se

Maliha, with a background in International Relations and two master’s degrees, is currently engaged in a fellowship at RWI. While she has not started her third master’s thesis, she plans to undertake it when time permits after her current commitment.

Her role as a research assistant at RWI  and SASNET , coupled with her contributions to Malmö University , reflects Maliha’s journey of continuous learning and dedication in academia. Beyond academic pursuits, she actively participates in community initiatives in Malmö, holding leadership positions in the Afghan Forum Afghanska Akademiska Kulturcentrum i Sverige and serving as the President of International Afghan Enlightened Women. In these roles, she modestly advocates for women’s rights and supports girls in pursuing education.

Maliha’s involvement in the research initiative “Vad hände sedan”  and her work on immigrant-related projects demonstrates her commitment and language skills as a research assistant. Modestly conducting interviews, translating, and transcribing Dari into Swedish, she contributes to various research projects. Her achievements modestly extend to advocating for women’s careers and active participation in diverse organizations.

In essence, Maliha views her journey as a humble pursuit of knowledge, aspiring to make positive contributions both in academia and community service.

.

Latifa Jafari Alavi

Latifa Jafari Alavi

Research Fellow, RWI Afghanistan Programme

E-mail: Latifa.Jafari_Alavi@rwi.lu.se

Latifa Jafari Alavi is a researcher on international criminal law and human rights. Latifa obtained her PhD in International Law from Strasbourg University, with a dissertation titled “Impunity for International Crimes in Afghanistan, the Failure of Complementarity, and the Need for Alternatives.” Additionally, she holds an LLM in European Private International Law from Dundee University and a master’s degree in International and European Law from Toulouse Capitole University. Latifa has previously worked for various international legal organizations including the ICC and IDLO. In addition, she has collaborated with several national NGOs in Afghanistan and Iran. She is currently engaged in research on intersectionality and human rights. Her research interests cover a wide range of topics such asarmed conflict, impunity for international crimes, the role of the ICC in Afghanistan, alternative justice measures, minority groups and intersectionality, human rights, andenvironmental law.

 

Palwasha Mirbacha

Palwasha Mirbacha

Research Fellow, RWI Afghanistan Programme

E-mail: Palwasha.Mirbacha@rwi.lu.se

With over a decade of extensive experience, Palwasha Mirbacha has played a pivotal role in planning, designing, implementing, and monitoring education projects, collaborating with renowned international education institutions. As an expert in the field of education, she has successfully managed the execution of multi-sectoral, multi-million, and generational projects. Palwasha’s background encompasses the management of both developmental and humanitarian education programs, with a profound understanding of the economics of education facilitated by education background coupled with her intensive engagement in robust research, writing, and analysis of the sector. She employs both qualitative and quantitative methods, underscored by the publication of multiple analytical works in the field. Furthermore, Palwasha’s professional journey reflects a commitment to social entrepreneurship and community work in Afghanistan, evident in her instrumental role in establishing and sustaining a grassroots education initiative, the Boume Dana Foundation, focused on the publication and dissemination of indigenous and contextually relevant children’s literature for Afghan children.

Hamid A. Formuli

Hamid A. Formuli

Research Fellow, RWI Afghanistan Programme

E-mail: Hamid.Formuli@rwi.lu.se

Hamid A. Formuli is a human rights practitioner and a former career diplomat.

His tenure at the Afghan foreign service spans over 8 years, boasting an impactful career across various roles, starting from a consular associate, law and treaties officer to special aide to the deputy foreign minister for economic cooperation.

Hamid previously served as the Head of the Human Rights Section of the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the UN in Geneva, and alternative permanent representative to the Human Rights Council during Afghanistan’s first ever membership of the body and as an expert at its Bureau during Afghanistan’s vice–presidency in 2020.

Since 2022 Hamid Formuli has been a founding member and Senior Fellow at the Center for Dialogue and Progress – Geneva, where he leads activities on human rights monitoring and advocacy through research, legal analysis, and events organization.

Academically, he holds a Bachelors in Law and Political Science from Kabul University and earned a Master (Summa Cum Laude) of International Studies from Seoul National University, South Korea, focusing on International Development Cooperation Policy and Global Governance.

His research interests include nexus between conflict and development, International and UN-mandated accountability mechanisms, politics of international human rights action, and management of diversity in pluricultural societies.

Hamid is fluent in Dari/Pashto and English, proficient in German and has basic knowledge of French and Spanish.

Kobra Moradi

Kobra Moradi

Research Fellow, RWI Afghanistan Programme

E-mail: Kobra.Moradi@rwi.lu.se

Kobra Moradi is a lawyer with a focus on human rights and international law. She has previously worked on international criminal accountability at the Australian Centre for International Justice, Afghanistan Human Rights and Democracy Organization, UN Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials, and Clooney Foundation for Justice.

Kobra is a law and international relations graduate. She also holds a Master’s degree in International Law and Diplomacy from the Australian National University, where she wrote her research dissertation on victim-centered transitional justice and Islamic law.

Haroun Rahimi

Haroun Rahimi

Research Fellow, RWI Afghanistan Programme

E-mail: Haroun.Rahimi@rwi.lu.se

Haroun Rahimi is an Associate Professor of Law and the interim chair of Law Department at the American University of Afghanistan. Rahimi is also a Global Academy Scholar at the Middle East Studies Association (MESA). Rahimi’s research focuses on economic laws, institutional reform, Islamic finance, and divergent conceptions of rule of law in Muslim and modern thoughts, and religious authority. Rahimi’s research has appeared in reputable local and international journals. Rahimi has also collaborated as an independent consultant with a number of research firms and policy think tanks conducting policy research on institutional development and good governance in the South Asia context. He was a visiting professor at Università Bocconi. At the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, Rahimi has worked on Islamic finance as a poverty alleviation strategy, the legal history of Afghanistan, and the ways that legal transplantation is legitimized in Muslim countries. Rahimi was a visiting scholar at the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT) in Rome. Haroun Rahimi obtained his B.A. in Law from Herat University, his LLM in Global Business Law, and his Ph.D. from the University of Washington.

Humaira Rasuli

Humaira Rasuli

Research Fellow, RWI Afghanistan Programme

E-mail: Humaira.Rasuli@rwi.lu.se

Humaira  Rasuli  is  an  Afghan  human  rights  lawyer  and  women  empowerment  activist. She   is   also  the   Co-Founder   and   Director   of   Women   for   Justice   Organization   in Afghanistan  (WJO). Humaira has  a bachelor’s degree  in  Law  and  Political  Science, practiced as an attorney  in Afghanistan, and registered with the Afghan  Bar Association as a Human Rights Attorney. She is also a certified trauma counselor and has a diploma in Business Administration.

Humaira  has  over  20  years  of  experience  working  in  Afghanistan  on  issues  related  to gender,   human   rights,   civil   society   development   and   rule   of   law. Her extensive experience   includes   senior   management   positions,   development   and   leading   two prominent NOGs in Afghanistan, training and mentoring lawyers and activists to increase women’s access to justice, uphold the rule of law in Afghanistan.

Humaira  started  her  social  justice  journey  at  the  age  of  16  when  she  was  an  Afghan refugee  in  Pakistan  after  the  fall  of  the Taliban  in  2001.   For  10 years,  she  led  Medica Mondiale,  a  German-based  NGO  program  in  Afghanistan, an  organization  providing psychosocial counseling and legal support to survivors of violence against women across five  provinces  to  serve,  assist,  and  empower  tens  of  thousands  of  women  and  girls affected by the war and crisis.

In 2018, Humaira Rasuli co-founded Woman for Justice Organization (WJO) to better safeguard women’s rights by strengthening the state’s institutional response and accountability to violence against  women  using  legal  strategies,  pushing  for  law  reform,  training  the emerging advocates and conducting peace advocacy. Humaira performed  as  a  leading  lawyer  in  investigating  and  trying  some  of  the  most high-profile  sex-crime  cases  in  Afghanistan involving  warlords,  politicians,  drug  lords and the criminal mafia. She has frequently travelled nationally to give trainings to women at grass-root level andinternationally. Humaira attended and contributed to  workshops and conferences in regards to women’s rights agenda

Maral Esmaeili

Maral Esmaeili

Student Research Assistant, Afghanistan Programme

E-mail: maral.esmaeili@rwi.lu.se

Maral Esmaeili is a Student Research Assistant at RWI, contributing to the Afghanistan Programme. Holding a bachelor’s degree in law from Tehran, she is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Sociology of Law at Lund University. Maral has a background in the research field, focusing on enhancing human rights, and has worked as a legal assistant and NGO counselor, primarily assisting refugees as well as women. With a genuine interest in human rights and gender equality, she looks forward to exploring and contributing meaningfully to these areas.

Ibrahim Khan Jabar Khail

Picture of Ibrahim Khan Jabar Khail with a green background

Ibrahim Khan Jabar Khail

Student Research Assistant, Afghanistan Programme

E-mail: ibrahim_khan.jabar_khail@rwi.lu.se

Ibrahim Khan Jabar Khail is currently doing his master’s in data Analytics and Machine Learning from Lund University. He has worked on different research projects in Afghanistan mainly focusing on the civil society organization, public financial management, and media landscape. He was part of Integrity Watch Afghanistan organization which monitored the fight against corruption in Afghanistan and promoted accountability and transparency. He writes on Afghanistan Public Finance issues from time to time for The Diplomat. His research interests are civil society organizations, data-oriented policy formulation, and using machine learning tools for measuring economic development. He is board member of Civil Society and Human Rights Network Afghanistan (CSHRN) organization.

The programme is financially supported by:

     

HQ: Lund Office

https://rwi.lu.se/ info@rwi.lu.se +462222 12 08 RWI Grådbrodersgatan 14, Lund, Sweden

     Opening hours: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Follow us on Social Media

Scroll to top