• BAAG discuss EVAW implementation with Afghan Ambassador

BAAG discuss EVAW implementation with Afghan Ambassador

25 November 2013

BAAG and representatives of 4 of its members today met with the Afghan Ambassador to London and his staff.   BAAG presented and discussed a joint letter calling for greater efforts in the implementation of Afghanistan's Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) Law.  On the global International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, BAAG took the opportunity to raise various concerns and practical recommendations from it's members and called for the Ambassador to relay these to the Afghan government.

The letter, which can be read in full here, requests action from a number of Afghanistan's ministries in recognition of the cross-cutting responsibilities for upholding women's rights and protection.  Whilst the Ministry of Women's Affairs has a responsibility to develop guidelines for the prevention of violence against women, equal if not greater responsibilities lie with Ministries such as Public Health, Justice and the Attorney General's Office.  

The representatives, from Amnesty International, CAFOD, Womankind Worldwide and Marie Stopes International, brought to the Ambassador's attention further details of the issues faced by Afghan women.   As Human Rights Watch revealed a working group within the Ministry of Justice is proposing stoning as a punishment for adultery, all those present in the meeting agreed that further clarification on these proposals must be urgently sought from the Government.  

The matter of women in shelters being denied treatment by some medical professionals was also discussed, raised by Marie Stopes which work with a number of shelters in the country. Whilst such attitudinal changes can be slow and difficult to implement, BAAG and its members will maintain their call to the Ministry of Public Health to investigate and, if necessary, resolve this issue.  A final discussion point involved the urgent need for protection mechanisms for women's rights activists - from community women's groups to senior civil servants, many women's rights activists have fallen victim to various forms of abuse, with too many paying the ultimate price. 

The Ambassador is supportive of BAAG's letter and the additional points raised in the meeting and will pass a copy of the letter and a report of the meeting to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  Grateful for BAAG's efforts, he also impressed upon the meeting participants the important role played by civil society in calling the Ministries and Government to account on such matters as the EVAW Law.