Royal Holloway, University of London and the Afghanistan and Central Asian Association: New Partnerships and Challenges During COVID-19 in the Clinical Legal World
In January 2020, Royal Holloway, University of London set up a new Legal Advice Centre offering free legal advice to the local community, including building upon key partnerships to address unmet legal needs. This practice-paper discusses Royal Holloway’s Legal Advice Centre (LAC) and the Afghanistan and Central Asian Association’s (ACCA) collaborative approach and response to the global pandemic since March 2020. It will highlight the unprecedented challenges that they have faced, and their efforts to overcome them. In addition, the paper will discuss their research project, which provides Royal Holloway’s student volunteers with the opportunity to gain unique multidisciplinary understandings of the effect of the pandemic in Afghanistan, and a chance to put their legal skills into practice by producing legal information to support local users of both Royal Holloway’s LAC and the Law Clinic at the ACAA.
This practice-paper includes a road map to Royal Holloway’s long-term goal, namely, to work with ACAA to research the legal vulnerabilities of women in Afghanistan, with the aid of a research grant supporting international collaboration. Recent reports highlight that lockdown and quarantine measures will have a long-term impact on the basic rights and freedoms of Afghan women, who already face hardship.