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(Washington, D.C.) – Amnesty International USA today applauded introduction of bi-partisan legislation in the United States Senate that would help ensure the protection of Afghan women as Afghanistan undergoes its security transition. The Afghan Women and Girls Security Promotion Act of 2012 was introduced by Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) on November 28.
The bill recognizes that the United States has the opportunity and the obligation to take immediate steps to ensure and strengthen women’s security and lay a foundation for Afghan women’s full participation in the long term.
"As the United States military transitions out of Afghanistan, Afghan women's human rights continue to be at grave risk and demand urgent attention," said Suzanne Nossel, executive director, Amnesty International USA. "The fate of women will be a crucial determinant of that country's prospects for a stable and prosperous future. We applaud Senator Casey and Senator Hutchison for demonstrating remarkable leadership to ensure that the U.S. does its part to empower women and ensure that their security needs are a priority."
The legislation would require the Department of Defense to develop a three-part strategy to promote and support the security of Afghan women and girls during and after the security transition process.
• Part one addresses how changes in women’s security both during and after the transition will be monitored and responded to should there be deterioration in women’s security conditions.
• Part two of the bill improves gender sensitivity among Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) personnel by requiring training related to the human rights of women and girls and by strengthening enforcement and accountability for violations of these rights.
• Part three aims to increase recruitment and retention of women in the ANSF by reducing barriers to women’s participation and highlighting the unique contributions women can make in the ANSF.
Finally, the bill requires Department of Defense semi-annual reporting requirements to Congress to assess implementation of the strategy and progress towards security and stability in Afghanistan.
Based on recommendations from the Afghan Women's Network and other women's rights activists in Afghanistan and their grave concerns over the future of Afghanistan, earlier this year Amnesty International called upon the U.S. Government to adopt an Action Plan for Afghan Women to ensure that their rights are not traded away in the security transition.
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.