Chamberlain: voices of Afghan women and girls must be heard

Writing The House, Wendy Chamberlain said must listen to the voices of Afghan women and girls when making decisions about them.

There is no question that the United Kingdom has let down the people of Afghanistan. And there is no question that we have let down – and continue to let down – Afghan women and girls.

Those involved in foreign, defence and development policy relating to Afghanistan may well have had good intentions… but well documented errors were also made. Errors which led to the swift return of the Taliban following the withdrawal of external troops. Errors which have left Afghan women and girls in Afghanistan removed of both their rights and liberties.

Speaking about the new All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Afghan Women and Girls, Chamberlain said

We have put some immediate vital asks to the government. We must maintain aid spending in Afghanistan – but the government must also focus on where the spending goes and how to reach people, including women. The Taliban’s ban on women working for NGOs will inevitably push them to the back of the queue…

The government must also create an asylum route for women in Afghanistan at risk. This starts with a discussion about what at risk means…

at the very least, we must consider those deemed most at risk: judges, prosecutors, human-rights defenders, politicians, journalists, policewomen, domestic intelligence and security officers, teachers, health workers, activists, artists and musicians.

And underlying every ask, is the need to hear Afghan women; to make policy and take action having considered their particular experiences. There are reports of official emails advising Afghans at risk to cross to third countries such as Pakistan; advice unsuited to women who may be no safer on arrival.

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One Comment

  • Mel Borthwaite 9th Feb '23 - 4:13pm

    People can claim asylum if it would be unsafe for them to return to their own country due to the risk of persecution. It is not enough for people to believe that life would be less comfortable in their own country or even that they would not have the same rights and freedoms that can be enjoyed in the UK – they must have a well founded fear that they faced persecution and that, for this reason, it was actually unsafe for them to return.

    I am not aware that women are more at risk of persecution than men so I’m not sure why there is a need for an asylum route for women rather than an asylum route for people

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