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Government must provide immediate aid to support women and girls in Afghanistan

Greens senators Larissa Waters, Mehreen Faruqi and Janet Rice have written to the Minister for Women and Foreign Affairs Marise Payne to urge the Government to provide immediate and increased aid to help women and girls now subject to Taliban rule in Afghanistan.

To ensure that aid is targeted to those most in need the aid should be delivered through partnerships with civil society and aid organisations working on the ground.

Greens deputy leader and spokesperson on women Senator Larissa Waters said:
“Australia has an obligation to do everything it can to secure the safety and freedoms of people in Afghanistan, especially women and children, given the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

“The gendered impacts of Taliban rule must not be ignored. There are now clear and immediate risks to the freedom, education, employment, safety, political engagement and bodily autonomy of Afghan women and gender diverse people.

“Just a few months ago, Senator Payne released the National Action Plan for Women, Peace and Security and committed Australia to increasing women’s meaningful participation in peace processes. In line with those commitments, Australia must call on the international community to ensure that Afghanistan's women leaders are included in the Doha talks, and represented in the Afghan National Assembly and public office.

“Despite occupation and war, the past decade has seen important gains, with nearly one third of Afghan political representatives now female and more than 3.5 million girls attending school. These gains must not be lost.”

Greens spokesperson for international aid and development Senator Mehreen Faruqi said:

“This Government’s apathy is sickening, particularly given Australia’s culpability in the current crisis. We have a responsibility to act now with a strong humanitarian response to the situation in Afghanistan.

“Women and children suffer a disproportionate burden both during and after a war. Afghans have already endured two decades of Western military occupation and are now subject to Taliban rule. Increasing aid targeted for supporting women and children is a debt we owe Afghan people.

“Australia must also show some leadership and take in at least 20,000 refugees and give permanent visas to Afghans already in Australia.” 

Greens spokesperson on foreign affairs Senator Janet Rice said:

"Australia has a moral obligation to the people of Afghanistan, and particularly to the women and girls now at risk. This is a crisis that's been years and decades in the making, which Australia's actions have contributed to.”

“Rather than hollow words and flimsy announcements, the Government should provide meaningful, significant support to those most at risk, including increased aid and a genuine increase to Australia's refugee intake."

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