Afghanistan: Women

House of Lords written question – answered on 4 February 2014.

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Photo of Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead Labour

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the safety and security of Afghan women, in particular of the effectiveness of the implementation of legislation on the elimination of violence against women in Afghanistan.

Photo of Baroness Warsi Baroness Warsi Senior Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Jointly with the Department for Communities and Local Government), Senior Minister of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Faith and Communities) (also in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

Implementation of the Afghan Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) law was specifically included in the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework (TMAF), agreed at the 2012 Tokyo Development Conference. The Joint Coordination Monitoring Board, attended by Afghan and international officials, as well as Presidential candidates, took place on 29 January and was an important milestone for both assessing progress against the TMAF, including the EVAW law, and identifying forward looking priorities for the next Afghan Government. A report on the implementation of the EVAW law is currently being prepared by the Government of Afghanistan. The UK will co-chair the Ministerial review against the TMAF, which will take place three to six months after the formation of the new government this year, and will have a key role in ensuring that commitments made are met.

The position of women in Afghan society has improved over the past 10 years but Afghanistan is still one of the worst countries in the world to be a woman, and the hard won gains made are fragile. The UN Mission to Afghanistan conducts an annual assessment of implementation of the EVAW law. Their report in December last year recognised some progress has been made in the reporting of incidents but that prosecutions and convictions remain low. In our work with Afghan ministries and institutions we continue to mainstream gender issues. We are increasing the awareness and accountability of Afghan police on the protection of women’s rights so they are better protected during everyday life. We are also working to support women’s inclusion in the security forces by providing training for female officer recruits at Afghanistan’s National Officer Academy. In addition, the Department for International Department's (DFID) future support to the Ministry of Interior will focus more strongly on promoting the role of women in policing and on the capability of the police to increase awareness of, and enforce, the EVAW Law. DFID’s new £3m programme to strengthen women’s access to justice in up to six provinces will include training formal and community-based justice sector actors on the EVAW law.

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