During a recent Prime Minister’s Questions, Jo urged the PM to ensure that women’s rights and security, which are essential for sustainable peace-building, were not sacrificed. She made her comments in advance of the international conference on Afghanistan recently held in Bonn where NATO pledged sustained economic, political and military support up to 2024.
The Prime Minister agreed that the progress made by women in Afghanistan since the 2001 military intervention was to be commended, and confirmed that he would continue to support those who stand up for women’s rights in the country.
Commenting, Jo said:
“Involving women in post-conflict resolution decision-making is vital for creating stability and security. Women’s rights in Afghanistan remain under real threat in the face of current negotiations and the impending withdrawal of troops, so it is vital that we prevent women from being sidelined during any discussion on their country’s future.”
“I am glad that the Prime Minister recognises the importance of making women full partners in the peace and reconciliation process and hope that Afghan women will continue to make progress and have their voices heard.”
- The full text of Jo’s question to David Cameron and his response can be read below.
Jo Swinson: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I would like to associate myself with the words of condolence from the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition. Ten years on from the military intervention, more than 3 million girls in Afghanistan are now in school. With the Bonn conference on Monday, will the Prime Minister send a clear message that the rights of those girls should not be traded away in a false choice between women’s rights and security? The evidence shows that women’s involvement in post-conflict resolution is essential for stability.
The Prime Minister: First of all, may I wish my hon. Friend and everyone in Scotland or who is Scottish a very happy St Andrew’s day? She is absolutely right to talk about women’s rights in Afghanistan. All too often, we talk about security without talking about some of the things that that security is making possible. It is the case that whereas in 2001 there were fewer than 1 million children in school in Afghanistan, none of them girls, today there are 6 million children regularly in school, 2 million of whom are girls. All those of us who have been to Afghanistan and met women MPs and other leaders in that country who want to stand up for women’s rights know what an incredible job those people are doing, and we are on their side.