Guest Post: "The honest truth is that we have let the women and girls of Afghanistan down’’
NicolaDMumsnet · 24/11/2022 16:53
Wendy Chamberlain, Caroline Nokes and Liz Saville-Roberts
Wendy Chamberlain, Caroline Nokes and Liz Saville-Roberts are three MP's working together to raise the voices of Afghan women and girls in Parliament.
When the Taliban took power in August 2021 the lives of Afghan women and girls instantly changed.
Over the past 15 months, we have seen teenage girls refused education, women unable to work, compulsory burqas, and most recently the reinstatement of public lashings with 10 women punished in the past week.
And the honest truth is that we have let the women and girls of Afghanistan down.
Boris Johnson promised in the Government’s response, that we would support all those who had assisted the British mission in Afghanistan, particularly those who were most vulnerable. This, rightly, reflects the special duty we owe to the brave individuals who worked with our soldiers and our diplomats and are at particular risk of harm as a result.
But he also said that we would do everything we can to avert a humanitarian crisis. On this we have failed. The UN defines a humanitarian crisis as when events threaten the health, safety or well-being of a community or large group of people. It is hard to think of how else to describe the position of Afghan women and girls left behind.
That is why we, as a cross party group of MPs, are working together to raise the voices of Afghan women and girls in Parliament, and to make sure they are not forgotten.
Two weeks ago we wrote, with other MPs, to the Government calling for a number of urgent steps to be taken to avert the crisis facing Afghan women.
In the immediate term, the Afghan Citizen Resettlement Scheme must be expanded to explicitly include women at risk of harm, with clear definitions of who qualifies and a process for referrals. Women are at risk every day and this cannot wait.
Afghan women must be heard in the decisions being made that affect them. Many have been successful in reaching the UK and making their homes here. They are the experts in life in Afghanistan under the Taliban. We must listen to them in all of their diversity. That is why we are asking the Foreign Office to implement a proper consultative process, for the Government to appoint a Special Envoy for Afghan Women, Girls and Human Rights, and to convene a global conference to look how we can work with our global partners to help the women left behind.
We have heard from Afghan women who hope one day that it will be safe to return to their homes and to rebuild their country. For this to happen, it is vital that any UK negotiations with the Taliban centre the fundamental rights of women; and that the UN is equipped to hold those violating humanitarian law to account.
The vision of judges and doctors, teachers and police, given refuge in our country, being able to return to rebuild a flourishing Afghanistan seems a long way off. But we will not be deterred. This weekend marches and rallies will be held all around the UK. The largest, organised by Action for Afghanistan, will take place in London at 11.30AM on Sunday 27th, starting in Marble Arch and ending with speeches near Parliament. But we believe every act of solidarity counts, so those of us who can’t be in London will be posting on social media or meeting local groups. You can too.
Women in Afghanistan are restricted in all parts of their life. They need a male relative to accompany them if they travel more than 45 miles from home. They cannot enter parks. They cannot work. They have no freedom. Nonetheless they are still fighting, and the least we can do is stand with them.
Information about the march can be found here.
Wendy Chamberlain is the Liberal Democrat MP for North East Fife. Caroline Nokes is the Conservative MP for Romsey and Southampton North and Liz Saville Roberts is the Plaid Cymru MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd. Together they are launching the All Party Parliamentary Group of Afghan Women and Girls to raise the voices of Afghan women and girls in Parliament.
StillWeRise · 24/11/2022 17:02
thanks for this
if we are unable to get to London and clueless about social media, is there anything else we can do?
NicolaDMumsnet · 25/11/2022 17:09
Another thing you can do to help is writing to your local MP asking them to support Afghan women and girls by advocating for the key asks mentioned in the post:
- Support a global summit for Afghan women and girls
- Ensure that any UK negotiation with the Taliban must centre the fundamental human rights of Afghan women and girls
- Establish an asylum and resettlement route for Afghan women at risk
You can find more information about these key asks on Action for Afghanistan's website here.
Thank you for your support!
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