Statement by the European Union of Women Executive Board and the Legal and Human Rights Commission
Women and girls in Afghanistan are in danger of being exposed to many forms of gender-based violence and gender inequality.
Serious consideration must be given to measures to prevent discrimination, violence, harassment, trafficking and other forms of exploitation and abuse.
Women remaining in Afghanistan and all refugees must be protected by the relevant international legislative instruments relating to equality and the status of refugees as well as the applicable human rights conventions. All nations should ensure the application of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to which Afghanistan is a Party.
We send our thanks to our sister NGOs who have been in the country for some time and we know that many of them are keen to stay and carry on their work. We call on all governments to use their diplomatic channels to protect and support these NGOs.
In its Gender Equality Strategy 2018-2023 the Council of Europe strongly emphasises the need of protecting the rights of refugee and asylum-seeking women and girls and we strongly endorse this.
EUW urges the EU Member States to have regard to the legislative framework of the Common European Asylum System, which balances the interests of the EU with the interests of those in urgent need.
In addition, we call on all governments and organisations to use NGOs such as UN Women to manage humanitarian aid and funding for rebuilding projects. It is through the NGOs already there that women can be supported. All funding should be in accordance with a funding framework where women are equally the beneficiaries.
Note to Editors
The European Union of Women (EUW) is composed of women in public life, female members of the European Parliament and national parliaments, and professionals in local communities drawn from Christian Democratic, Conservative and like‐minded political parties in 15 countries. Founded in The Hague in 1954, it is a NGO with consultative status with the United Nations and the Council of Europe.
The EUW British Section Board were appalled at the proposal by the Prime Minister to break international law with clauses 41 to 45 of the Internal Market Bill. As an international organisation, they believe it is doing untold damage to the UK’s reputation not just in Europe but across the world. In the House on 21st September, Rt Hon. Theresa May MP said: “I cannot emphasise enough how concerned I am that a Conservative Government are willing to go back on their word, to break an international agreement signed in good faith and to break international law”. Therefore, on 24th September, Patricia Taylor wrote on behalf of the Board to Theresa May, who was once an EUW member, offering EUW British Section’s full support to her stand on this and applauding her actions, she also indicated that British Section would take this further. A letter was also sent to the Prime Minister informing him of EUW British Section’s disappointment. No replies have yet been received.
Since then, now that the Bill is going to Committee Stage, individual letters have been sent to those Peers who are members of the relevant committees informing them that British Section is strongly opposed to clauses 43 and 45 in particular as they are morally wrong and incompatible with the principles of democracy and upholding the rule of law. The letters also expressed concern that the clauses will be re-inserted repeatedly by the Lower House, despite the Upper House rejecting it initially, and noted that British Section hoped the Upper House would stand firm. A further letter has also been sent to Theresa May informing her what British Section has done.
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