Rep. Slotkin introduces bipartisan House companion legislation; Duckworth, Leahy join Senate bill
Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security endorses bill
Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein today applauded the growing support for the Protect Women’s and Girls’ Rights in Afghanistan Act, a bill to safeguard the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces. More information on the bill is available here.
“I’m pleased that Congresswoman Slotkin has introduced the House companion to the Protect Women’s and Girls’ Rights in Afghanistan Act,” Senator Feinstein said. “Over the past 20 years, the lives of women and girls living in Afghanistan have improved markedly. Key rights like access to education, the right to work and protection from violence have been strengthened.
“But as U.S. troops prepare to depart the country, those rights are in jeopardy,” Senator Feinstein continued. “As a champion for global democracy, the United States must do all we can to preserve those rights. I strongly believe that if the Afghan government is unable to protect women and girls in the future, U.S. financial support to Afghanistan should be diverted to NGOs that can work to provide better conditions for this at-risk population.”
House version introduced
Representative Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) has introduced the House companion to the Protect Women’s and Girls’ Rights in Afghanistan Act. Also supporting the legislation is Representative Ann Wagner (R-Mo.), the vice ranking member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
“As U.S. and NATO forces prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan later this year, it’s never been more important to protect the hard-earned rights for women and girls over the last two decades,” Representative Slotkin said. “This bill creates a clear monitoring system to keep the U.S. apprised of the situation on the ground and conditions foreign aid to the Afghan government on its ability to guarantee basic human rights for women, including health care, education and employment opportunities. There’s still much work left to do, but this bill is an important tool to make sure we protect and build on the progress made for Afghan women.”
Support for Senate bill grows
Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) recently joined the Senate bill as cosponsors. Also cosponsoring the bill are Senators Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.).
“As our nation continues to draw down our forces from Afghanistan, we must do all we can to make sure that Afghan women and girls are not put at risk,” said Senator Duckworth. “I’m proud to work with my colleagues on this bill that would help protect and preserve the rights that Afghan women and girls have worked so hard for over the past two decades.”
Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security
Also endorsing the legislation is Ambassador Melanne Verveer, executive director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security. From 2009 to 2013, Ambassador Verveer served as the first U.S. Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues in the Obama administration.
“This legislation provides an important tool for monitoring the condition of women and girls at a perilous time,” Ambassador Verveer said.
“It would require the Secretary of State to report at regular intervals on the condition of women and girls in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops. The legislation also rightly acknowledges the need for continuing U.S. assistance to preserve the rights that women and girls have achieved, and to continue their progress. If the rights, security and opportunities for Afghan women and girls are jeopardized, Afghanistan’s peace, stability and economic viability will also be jeopardized too.”
What the Protect Women’s and Girls’ Rights in Afghanistan Act does:
- Establishes a policy that economic aid will not be provided to the Afghan government if minimum standards of treatment for women and girls – including health care, education and access to employment – aren’t upheld.
- Calls for all Afghan nationals who violate basic rights of women, including murder and grievous domestic violence, to be prosecuted for their crimes.
- Requires a twice-yearly State Department assessment of how Afghan women and girls are treated, as well as actions taken by the Taliban to secure the rights of women and girls.