Afghanistan: Girls and Women

Lord Purvis of Tweed Excerpts
Monday 23rd January 2023

(1 year, 5 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Portrait Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con)
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My Lords, I join my noble friend, and I am sure all of us, in expressing abhorrence at these actions, which, literally, as my noble friend said, identify individuals. First and foremost, we must protect their identity. That is why, with some of the NGOs we are supporting on the ground, particularly some of the women’s charities, we are we working directly with them, but, in the detail we sometimes provide, at their behest and for their protection, we do not share those details. We are also working directly with women leaders. My noble friend Lady Hodgson and I met separately with some of the women leaders who were directly involved with the Government. I think that also provides a very important conduit to the kinds of priorities that are needed for woman representatives, be they human rights defenders or, indeed, ex-politicians within Afghanistan.

Lord Purvis of Tweed Portrait Lord Purvis of Tweed (LD)
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My Lords, the UK is one of the biggest funders of the World Bank’s Afghan trust fund, which is the means by which the Taliban govern and are delivering services. What reassurance can the Minister provide that British funds are not being used directly by the Taliban for their discriminatory policies?

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Portrait Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con)
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My Lords, we have to be stringent in that. I agree with the noble Lord that we need to ensure that there is due diligence on the ground to ensure that that happens. I cannot guarantee that every single pound and dollar from that trust fund has not been utilised in some shape or form by the Taliban, but that funding is getting through. We are working with international partners on the ground. We can further enhance this by ensuring that the partners we are working with also have their verification processes. This is a strange conundrum: providing humanitarian support, health support and educational support is vital. Why should the people—the woman and girls of Afghanistan—suffer? We need to work through the barriers that the Taliban are putting in front of us.