Before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Afghanistan’s stabilization and reconstruction, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) announced her introduction of the “Afghan Women Security and Freedom Act 2004.” The act authorizes $300 million for each of the fiscal years 2005, 2006, and 2007, earmarking $20 million for the Afghan Ministry of Women’s Affairs and $10 million for the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission each year.
This act calls for direct funding for the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, and Afghan women’s organizations. According to the act, “not less than 25 percent of such assistance” should be provided to women-led non-governmental organizations that are located in Afghanistan.
In addition, the act calls for expansion of international peacekeeping forces and the authorization of Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) to intervene to stop human rights and women’s rights violations, which the current mandate does not allow. The act also states that assistance should be used to implement programs to protect women and girls from sexual and physical abuse, trafficking, and sex discrimination in the delivery of humanitarian aid.
According to the act, not less than every six months the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the US State Department will be required to submit a report on the activities detailing the amount of assistance released to the Afghan Ministry of Women’s Affairs, other ministries of the Afghan government, the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, Afghan non-profit organizations, international non-profit organizations, and United Nations agencies.