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The Afghanistan Human Rights and Democracy Organization (AHRDO) is an independent, impartial and not-for-profit organization established in early 2009 with the objective of promoting fundamental human rights values and democratic principles in Afghanistan. AHRDO is committed to the promotion of participatory democracy, a culture of non-violence and the respect for human rights in Afghanistan, principally through employing a variety of arts and theatre-based programs that create spaces for dialogue, peace-building, social justice, public participation and consequently societal transformation from the grassroots up. AHRDO’s activities provide opportunities for different, generally marginalized social groupings and communities to engage in unique, people’s-led democratic experiences based on peaceful dialogue in the search for a more just and democratic society for everyone. Over the course of the last seven years, AHRDO has undertaken over 35 innovative projects towards the realization of the ideals it has been cherishing since its foundation. Examples include but are not limited to:
– Establishing a Network of Afghan Women Young Leaders, founding 8 Social Councils of War Victims across four provinces;
– Compilation and documentation of over 2000 stories and personal objects left behind from Afghan war victims in five provinces through what is called “Memory Box.” The Memory Box serves as an instrument for the collection, organization, protection, public exhibition and public narrativization of personal items and objects of the civilians killed during various conflicts in Afghanistan. AHRDO has produced over 100 memory boxes so far which have been publically exhibited several times in the country (For more info on this initiative check here, here and here);
– Conducting over 250 Theatre of the Oppressed workshops and Forum Theatre Performances for various social groups in 8 provinces. Some of the issues dealt with include transitional justice, gender-based violence, ethnic conflict and economic justice;
– Producing and staging two scripted theatre plays (AH7809 and Infinite Incompleteness) on transitional justice and performing them in more than 20 provinces of the country as well as outside the country;
In addition, AHRDO undertakes policy research projects in relation to broader theoretical and empirical aspects of transitional justice, democratization, conflict management and transformation and the promotion of human rights and women’s rights by tapping into the comparative experiences of other conflict zones and placing these issues into a deeper historical perspective in Afghanistan. AHRDO’s upcoming research report focuses on ethnic conflict transformation at the grassroots level in Afghanistan.