Women in Afghanistan
Email Campaign

The UK Government is providing £500,000 this year to support the work of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission to help it act to protect human rights defenders and support those seeking justice. The UK is also actively engaging with the EUís Strategy on Human Rights in Afghanistan, which contains specific commitments to support human rights defenders. Ministers will continue to work with the EU Human Rights and Gender Working Group on the delivery of this and other human rights commitments in the strategy.

The Government raises the protection and promotion of the rights of women and those working on womenís issues through the UN. In November, the UK secured strong language in the UN General Assembly Resolution on Afghanistan which condemns violence towards individuals and groups working on human rights.

The UK will continue to press the Afghan Government to implement the recommendations by the UN Committee on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in July, which calls on the Afghan Government to ensure the effective protection of women in prominent positions, including women human rights defenders, and to hold perpetrators of violence to account. I am pleased that Afghanistan has endorsed the Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict which includes a pledge to support and protect the efforts of civil society, including womenís groups and human rights defenders.

The Secretary of State for International Development visited Afghanistan in November, speaking to civil society organisations and discussing the challenges they face when working on womenís issues. The Secretary of State announced a new £7.5 million programme to strengthen political institutions by helping parliament to recruit and retain female staff in key positions and building capacity of provincial councillors, when elected next year. A further £3 million in funding will work to strengthen the justice sector for women victims of violence, as well as outreach work and support to male leaders, educators and Afghan women working to raise awareness of womenís issues.

International support to human rights defenders is most effective when coordinated through multilateral institutions such as the EU and in particular the UN who have the expertise and resources to fulfil this important role in country. A UK action plan in isolation would risk duplicating established efforts, adding little additional value to existing work to support human rights defenders in Afghanistan.


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