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Repeated pledges; Efforts underway to recruit more policewomen: Interior Minister

AT-KABUL: Minister of Interior, Noorul Haq Ulomi, on Saturday said that efforts were underway to increase the number of policewomen and enhance their capability.

Addressing a conference, he said the ministry will focus on professionalism of policewomen, adding that Ministry of Interior (MoI) is also planning to provide opportunity to the female staff to take part in the decision-making process.

Ulomi urged all participants of the conference to discuss challenges and outgoing ways in this conference. He said the MoI would welcome the suggestions.

Rula Ghani, the Afghan first lady, said that Kunduz incident shows that women are the victims of war at the front line. “Therefore, it is important for the policewomen to pay attention to this aspect,” she stressed.

The first lady said that Afghanistan has great potential to be a developed country, given that the resources are spent appropriately and in a better way. Emphasizing on security improvement for betterment of the nation, she said that policewomen has a crucial role to play in this regard.

Head of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, Sima Samar, said that without women’s presence in the society, progress is impossible. “Hence, we need a secure environment for women in police force. Besides providing ground for recruitment of women in police lines, the interior ministry must also provide them safety,” she suggested.

Ms Samar said that if policewomen were not safe then how they could protect other women. The ministry had to provide facilities to female cops. They should not be given the tasks of only searching and writing letters, she added.

Samar also proposed capacity building of the policewomen and their participation in the decision making process in the ministry.

She urged policewomen not to remain silent against violence or any form of discrimination in the police force.

Currently, 3,000 policewomen are performing duties within the MoI’s framework. The ministry’s goal is to increase number of policewomen to 10,000 within next five years.

This March, celebrating the International Women’s Day, the interior minister said that Afghanistan was in the need of increasing the number of policewomen thus the ministry was keen to surge number of women in police lines.

He told that the ministry was struggling to establish a mechanism to provide safe environment for women to join police lines without any fear and concern. “We are improving the opportunity of presence of our sisters in police lines,” he added.

He also said that women would be recruited in police lines considering the traditions of the country.

According to him, a number of women had been sent to a number of Islamic World countries for professional training, but this is not sufficient therefore the ministry was eying to increase their share in police lines.

The remarks of the interior minister about recruiting more women in the line of police came when officials in the MoI gender department said that a number of policewomen were facing mistreatment and harassment by their men colleagues.

Head of the department, Hikmat Shahi, said that women were faced with several problems in a number of police units when they need promotion or appointment. A number of officials avoid recruiting and appointing women in police lines and other offices of the MoI under the pretext that women will not prove vital for police lines or any other duty in the ministry, he said.

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