Women’s Rights in Afghanistan
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I agree with you that the protection of women’s rights in Afghanistan must be a fundamental part of the transition process and I welcome the Government’s clear position on this issue. Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt has stated that: “Tackling violence against women is fundamental to upholding basic human rights and to support women playing a full part in the development of a stable and secure Afghanistan and we regularly raise this issue with the Government of Afghanistan.”

Indeed in March, Senior Minister of State, Baroness Warsi discussed the vital role of women in Afghanistan with the Afghan Foreign Minister, leading female parliamentarians and other government and civil society representatives. I welcome the Government’s emphasis on this important area and am reassured by the work that is already taking place.

Implementation of the Afghan Elimination of Violence Against Women Law (EVAW) was specifically included in the partnership between the Afghan Government and the international community agreed in July 2012. The Government, along with its international partners, has made clear that it will hold the Afghan Government to account for the commitments they have made.

The UK is also actively supporting the development of the Afghan National Police through the European Police Mission. You will be pleased to know that European Police Mission is set to enhance the capacity of the family response units with a new training package for female police officers, prosecutors and members of the legal community.

The UK’s £7.1 million assistance to the Afghan Ministry of Interior includes a strong focus on developing Afghan policy on promoting human rights in the security sector and protecting women from violence. In addition, we provide significant funding to the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission to ensure it can act to protect women human rights defenders, investigate and catalogue violence against women, and support those seeking justice.

I hope this information impresses on you how seriously the Government takes this issue. I am confident it will continue to work closely with the Government of Afghanistan and wider Afghan authorities, international partners and local and international civil society organisations to improve the status of women in Afghanistan, so that they can play a full role in a future, peaceful Afghanistan. Please rest assured it will have my full support.

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