• NATO respond positively to ENNA letter calling for protection of civilians and women's rights.

NATO respond positively to ENNA letter calling for protection of civilians and women's rights.

06 November 2013

The letter submitted to NATO by BAAG and 20 other members and partners of the European Network of NGOs in Afghanistan (ENNA) in October (see our 18th October entry) has generated positive responses.  


Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO Secretary General, responded on 24th October.  His letter (read in full here) explains how the ongoing training of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) incorporates human rights and their adherence.  This includes the limiting of civilian casualties, training on gender issues and supporting the recruitment and retention of female members of the ANSF. The Secretary General commended the work of ENNA and its members and provided assurance of continued NATO dialogue with NGOs.   


In advance of the NATO meeting of Defence Ministers, BAAG and other ENNA members sent the letter to numerous European ministries of Defence.  The Minister of Defence of the Netherlands, Jaenine Hennis-Plasschaert, included a paragraph in her briefing to Members of Parliament which referred to the ENNA letter and supported its recommendations.  


Finally, the NATO Secretary General's Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security, Mari Skaare, has asked ENNA to participate in a workshop on 9 December 2013, at NATO HQ in Brussels, on "Gender mainstreaming in prevention, management and resolution of conflicts".


These responses are positive and BAAG welcomes NATO’s commitment to human and women's rights.  As the Secretary General comments, women's empowerment and protection go beyond the roles and responsibilities of the security forces. They require long term focused policies that tackle the root causes of gender inequality.  Yet a force that is informed of women and human rights, acts on their enforcement and is accountable for their own violations, will strengthen Afghanistan's rights movement.