The Female Face of Afghanistan - Recommendations to a future UK Government launched on International Human Rights Day at The House of Commons

10 December 2009

On 10th December, International Human Rights Day, the Conservative Human Rights Commission, launched “The Female Face of Afghanistan –Recommendations to a Future UK Government” at a reception held at the House of Commons.

The publication and speakers were introduced by Nicola Blackwood the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for West Oxford and Abingdon.

Nicola Blackwood said:

“ I am very pleased to be able to launch this report on a platform with such eminent speakers who speak out about Afghanistan in their many different ways and from their different standpoints”.

David Lidington MP, the Shadow Foreign Minister for Human Rights, welcomed the thought provoking report and said the recommendations were a useful starting point in considering these issues.  

David Lidington MP said:

 “The Female Face of Afghanistan – Recommendations to a Future UK Government” is a really worthwhile publication and I hope as many people as possible who are concerned about the future of Afghanistan will read it.”

Lady Anne Greenstock, Patron of UNIFEM UK and Vice Chair of Women for Women International UK, stressed the importance of training women in Afghansociety in order to empower them and change them from victims to survivors to active citizens.

Horia Mosadiq, who works for Amnesty International on Afghanistan, and is a journalist with particular interest in Human Rights and women, emphasised the role of the international community, both in supporting Afghan women in society and at government level, and also putting pressure on the Afghan Government to recognise that violence against women is a crime.

“The Female Face of Afghanistan”, edited and compiled by Fiona Hodgson and Glyn Strong, is a remarkable collection of writings from individuals who know Afghanistan, either because they are Afghan or have lived, worked or visited the country. The authors range from Afghan politicians to schoolgirls writing in secret, distinguished authors, former diplomats, students and  NGOs. The purpose of the publication is to highlight the parlous state of women in the country.

Fiona Hodgson said:

“I have felt for some time that the situation of women in Afghanistan has  badly needed highlighting. I hope that the views and voices reflected in this publication will emphasize the urgent need to address the humanitarian issues in Afghanistan, especially for women, in a more effective way.”

His Excellency, Homayan Tandar, the Ambassador of Afghanistan, attended the packed event which was well supported by many members of the Afghan community in the UK. Carpets from Kabul provided by Afghan Action, together with drinks and Afghan food, contributed to a lively reception

Tony Baldry MP, Chairman of the Conservative Human Rights Commission, said:

“One of the reasons why the international community intervened in Afghanistan was to free Afghan women from the intolerance of the Taliban. “The Female Face of Afghanistan – Recommendations to a Future UK Government” records the voices of Afghan women and women concerned about the future of women in Afghanistan. When in due course we leave Afghanistan it will be a critical test as to whether women feel safer, more free and more secure.”