Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), with Representatives Tom Davis (R-VA) and Corrine Brown (D-FL) introduced the “Afghan Women Security and Freedom Act 2004.” The act (HR 4117) authorizes $300 million for each of the fiscal years 2005, 2006, and 2007. Introduced by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) in the Senate earlier this year, the act includes earmarks for $20 million for the Afghan Ministry of Women’s Affairs and $10 million for the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission each year. According to Maloney, “While the new Afghan constitution guarantees equality for Afghan women, throughout Afghanistan, women continue to face intimidation, discrimination, and violence.” She said that “the United States has an obligation to ensure that women and girls have the opportunities that they were denied under the Taliban.”
Calling for direct funding for the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, the act also provides that “not less than 25 percent” of the 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.