International Development and Gender-based Violence

Part of Backbench Business – in Westminster Hall at 3:33 pm on 26th November 2020.

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Photo of Naseem Shah Naseem Shah Shadow Minister (Housing, Communities and Local Government) 3:33 pm, 26th November 2020

I thank the hon. Member for his intervention. I recognise what he is saying, and he makes a powerful point. However, I do not recognise the idea that this is hollow. That is whataboutery, and we are not here for whataboutery. We are here because every life matters, as we have heard from every single Member who has spoken in this debate. For every 14-year-old that was raped in Pakistan, I can talk about the eight-year-old child that was raped in occupied Kashmir. This is not a competition about which girl deserves more of our concern, or in which area in the world that girl should be protected. That is not what this is about.

Let us get this right: our laws in this country do not give us equal pay, and we are the biggest democracy in the world. I will not take lessons on hollowness from the hon. Member when his Government have not implemented equal pay for women, and when they are even worse when it comes to black and minority ethnic women. Let us not belittle this debate and bring it down to whataboutery. This debate is about women.

The hon. Member for Totnes was spot on. As he highlighted, this debate is about looking at the 16 days of activism to stop violence across the world. Whether that is in Pakistan, India or Uganda, and whether it involves Boko Haram or any other terrorist organisation, women are being used as a weapon of war. They are being raped, and they are being violated. That is what the House needs to understand. We must work together, regardless of whether that is happening in Pakistan or India. I wanted to focus on the issue of women in occupied Kashmir being gang-raped by Indian forces, and I will not have that diminished. That is what must be highlighted, and that is the note on which I will end my contribution to this debate.