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  • Writer's pictureNicholas Morris

The Commonwealth must be a watchdog for the protection of Afghan women

Updated: Aug 23, 2021

In the past few days, the global community has become quite entrenched with significant feelings of concern, uncertainty as well as fear for the futures of the young girls and women of Afghanistan.

The prayers and tears being shed by those who look at the horrific scenes are justified given the Taliban’s horrendous record of disregarding the rights of women in the past. The reign of the Taliban has not only seen the disregard of rights for women but rather the harm, hurt and even murder of women in the past.

While so much has changed in the last twenty years with many of these young Afghan women who are engaged in education, academia and every part of Afghanistan’s development, knowing nothing but stories of prior Taliban rule, one thing remains clear, the role of the Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth has always offered hope, protection, and development to the world’s vulnerable in times of crisis. This has been significantly evident over the last two decades with many programs geared to assist Afghanistan.

Now is a time for the Commonwealth to put all hands on decks through the various agencies, think tanks, and countries to ensure it becomes a watchdog for the protection of Afghan women and children.

We have no doubt that the Commonwealth, as they have done in the past, will accept its role in playing a part to ensure these dynamic women and girls are not left behind but placed at the center of development to ensure a place, plan and purpose.

Comfort must be found in the policy announcements of the British government for the Afghan people while reassurance must come through their track record of protecting women across the globe.

The Conservative Friends for the Commonwealth find great strength in our patron, Hon. Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone and Weald, who was appointed as the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Education. Through her dynamic work, many of our world’s vulnerable girls have been assisted. Therefore, with individuals as herself, the young girl in Kabul or Kandahar must never feel that they will be abandoned as Britain along with her Commonwealth would rise to the occasion to protect them going forward.

The Commonwealth has a role to play, and that role is ensuring that Afghan women are able to maximise their true potential. Our collective efforts, voices and assistance can and will help these women.

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