Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
July 20, 2010

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Denmark Foreign Minister Lene Esperson announced their two governments are launching a joint initiative aimed at improving women’s access to justice in Helmand Province. The joint U.S.-Danish initiative will target three priority areas: women’s right to justice, strengthening rule of law in the area, and strengthening civil society at the provincial level.

Improving access to justice is key to the stabilization of Helmand Province. In order to reach the goal of gradually transferring responsibility to Afghan authorities, the justice sector must be developed and its capacity increased. Socio-economic development in Helmand is only possible if the population trusts in the formal justice system and government authorities.

Current major challenges within the justice sector include basic access to institutions, procedural delays, corruption, and a lack of quality in decision making processes and court rulings. These problems affect all citizens, but the barriers are overwhelming for the women of Helmand Province.

With this initiative, the United States and Denmark will more actively and effectively support our Afghan government and civil society partners who are committed to improving justice for the women of Helmand.

PRN: 2010/980