ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A prosecutor and a police officer from Kabul, Afghanistan, were in Albuquerque on Thursday, learning how domestic violence cases are handled in the U.S. and New Mexico.
The idea is to learn from American systems and adopt best practices in Afghanistan.
On Thursday, Abdul Haq Anabia, the prosecutor, and Gita Qaderi, a police officer in the family response unit, observed a domestic violence hearing at 2nd Judicial District Court in Downtown Albuquerque.
This was a big cultural difference, Anabi explained, as mediation is typically used in Afghanistan for situations of domestic violence rather than a hearing.
“I prefer and support mediation. I prefer (domestic violence) is solved through mediation,” said Anabi, who runs an office responsible for this type of intervention in Afghanistan.
Despite the differences in systems, Anabi said the purpose of the trip is for the pair to adopt applicable initiatives in Afghanistan.
“We are specifically interested in things we can use, and not overall obviously,” Anabi said through his translator Reda Waciri.
A United Nations report done in May 2018 found that violence against women remained widespread throughout Afghanistan despite governmental efforts to crack down and criminalize the practices. While the report recognized progress in the country, it also found that women’s access to justice was limited and women “continued to face inequality before the law.”
“Overall, we are trying in Afghanistan to decrease the violence against women,” said Qaderi, who joined the police force four years ago due to a shortage of female officers.
Qaderi said one of her takeaways so far from her Albuquerque visit was adopting awareness programs.
She said she would like to bring back initiatives to Afghanistan that promote awareness of domestic violence and highlight services and resources for survivors.
“We need to have more programs in building awareness,” she said.
“I’m hoping to go back and focus on such programs that would be very helpful,” she added.
Albuquerque was just one stop for the pair, who arrived on Wednesday and will leave on Saturday.
They have also visited courts in Santa Fe and out of state such as Washington, Baltimore, Cincinnati and Detroit.
Their local trip was part of an international visitors program through Global Ties ABQ and partner KWH Law Center for Social Justice and Change, according to Pamelya Herndon with KWH.