This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
Foreign Office Senior Minister, Baroness Warsi, has met young activists from Amnesty UK to discuss women’s rights in Afghanistan and the essential role of women in building a more stable and prosperous future for their country. The Minister received a petition from Amnesty and Gender Action for Peace and Security calling on the UK to continue its support to Afghan women.
Welcoming the petition, the Minister praised the work of civil society organisations in protecting and promoting the rights of Afghan women, and reaffirmed the UK’s long-term commitment to working with them, the Afghan Government and other partners, to improve the role and status of women and girls in Afghanistan. Baroness Warsi said:
I am proud that the young people of Britain are standing side-by-side with young Afghans to demand an equal role for women in Afghan society. Organisations such as Amnesty are doing outstanding work to ensure that the voices of Afghan women will never again be pushed into the background.
The UK remains absolutely committed to Afghanistan, and this commitment will continue after 2014 when our combat forces leave. Our work will go on supporting Afghan women and girls as they tackle the challenges and opportunities ahead. Women can and must play a crucial role in building the Afghanistan of the future.
The discussions highlighted the difficulties faced by many women in Afghanistan including a high level of violence. Baroness Warsi noted the challenges of tackling these given the deeply conservative culture in many parts of the country. She reiterated the importance the UK attaches to encouraging the Afghan Government to uphold its commitments on women’s rights, including through the implementation of the Elimination of Violence against Women law. Baroness Warsi said:
Tackling violence and discrimination against women and girls is essential for a stable and peaceful Afghanistan, for building a stronger economy and a fairer society. Afghan women must be allowed to play their full part in Afghan public and political life, including as voters and candidates in the elections in April next year. Women’s political participation gives voice to a marginalised section of society, enables women to shape the decisions that affect their lives and will ultimately secure the sort of future for Afghanistan that its people deserve.
Follow Foreign Office Minister Baroness Warsi on twitter @SayeedaWarsi