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Govt urged to recruit more policewomen

By Akhtar M. Nikzad-KABUL: A number of civil society activists on Wednesday criticized the National Unity Government (NUG) for its failure to fulfill its promise about recruitment of more women in police force.

The activists in a joint press conference with relevant official of the Ministry of Interior (MoI) said that NUG is not moving ahead to translate its pledges regarding women’s empowerment into actions.

They said that both political leaders, President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah, in their election campaigns vowed to empower women and protect their rights if they came into power.

The activists said that the leaders were now at loggerhead over power structure and forgot to increase participation of women in the government departments.

They further said that the international community donated millions of dollar to Afghan government for empowerment of women; however, women’s rights protection has become a “long ignored issue”.

Zahra Sepahr, a women’s rights activist, said that since 2003 till 2014, around 2,438 policewomen were recruited, but after inauguration of the NUG, no woman was recruited by the interior ministry.

She claimed that majority of women in police force are working at low ranks.

“According to the Constitution, the government is bound to observe the United Nations Security Council’s Resolution 1325 about role of women in security forces. The Government is also obliged to pave the ground for women to take part at all levels in security forces,” she said.

Hamida Wardak, member of the provincial council, said that despite all efforts policewomen still face many challenges.

Lack of transportation facility, harassment, discrimination, absence of welfare schemes and provisional courses are major problems in front of policewomen, she pointed out.

“It has been 14 years but still we do not have female deputy interior minister. This tells us that there is no political determination on part of the government,” she lamented.

Ahmad Hakimi, General Manager of Gender Right in MoI, said the interior ministry is committed to recruit 2,500 more policewomen by 2016.

He said that several efforts have been made for this purpose. “However, negative propaganda discouraged women and they are not ready to join police force and serve the society. If the international community continued support, the interior ministry will increase the number of policewomen to 10,000 by 2024,” he claimed.

The activists termed role of policewomen vital in elimination of crimes such as domestic violence and forced marriages.

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