Marzia Basel


Luce International Fellow and Director, Afghanistan Progressive Law Organization


Marzia Basel is founder and Director of the Afghanistan Progressive Law Organization and the Afghan Women’s Judges Association. She has extensive training and experience in international relations, women in development, and law. She holds a bachelor’s in law and political science from Kabul University and a master’s in international law and comparative studies from George Washington University.

She was employed as a judge in both civil and criminal courts in Kabul and served in the Supreme Court Legal Aid Department and the Kabul Public Security Court. During the period of Taliban rule (1996-2001), Basel ran a private, home-based school for women where she designed programming and taught English. After the fall of the Taliban, she was active in state reconstruction, serving on the Kabul Public Security Court, acting as a representative for the establishment of the Independent Afghan Judicial Commission, and acting as an officer for the Emergency Loya Jirga Commission. She was integral to women’s mobilization in reconstruction, working for the Director of UNIFEM Afghanistan as a Gender Justice Officer and serving on the Afghan Constitution Commission in a unit supporting women in the election process.

She also served for UNICEF Afghansitan as Juvenile Justice Project Officer. Since 2006, she has been working as National Advisor to the German government's Assistant for Afghanistan GTZ, now the GIZ Rule of Law Project. After the suspension of the Afghan Women Judges Association by the Afghan Supreme Court she founded the Afghanistan Progressive Law Organization and has served as its director since 2009. She is also a volunteer member of the Afghan Independent Bar Association Women's Committee, and a volunteer member of the advisory committee for the Afghan Women's Ministry.