Thursday, 12 December 2013

Roger calls on Government to act to protect the rights of women in Afghanistan

Roger has written to the Secretary of State for International Development, Justine Greening MP, to urge her to take all possible steps to protect the safety of women and girls in Afghanistan, and to prioritise supporting Afghanistani women who are working to improve human rights.

Roger also tabled a Parliamentary Question to urge the Department for International Development to increase funding to help provide more shelters for female victims of violence in Afghanistan, where there are currently just fourteen shelters. He tabled another question asking DFID for more information about how it is working with the Government of Afghanistan to bring to justice perpetrators of violent crimes against women and girls, and how it will safeguard women’s rights following the withdrawal of Coalition forces.

Roger said: “My constituents have written to me to tell me that they share my concern about the current situation of women in Afghanistan. Of particular concern is the extremely high level of violence against women and girls, and the number of these attacks that remain unreported and unpunished. I am urging the Government to take these factors into account when planning the withdrawal of troops.”

High-profile women who stand up for human rights in Afghanistan are particularly likely to be targeted for attacks. Recently two parliamentarians, Fariba Kakar and Rooh Gul, were attacked, and the two most senior police women in Helmand were both murdered. The perpetrators of violent attacks such as these are frequently not brought to justice even when the victim was a high profile woman, and the killers who target women with lower profiles are even less likely to be held to account for their crime. Female teachers and doctors, who provide other women and girls with the healthcare and education they need to improve their lives, are frequently targeted.

Roger concluded: “I believe that it is vital for the UK to champion women’s rights in Afghanistan, and to apply all possible diplomatic pressure to the Government of Afghanistan to take effective action in this area.”

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