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S. 3646 (112th): Afghan Women and Girls Security Promotion Act of 2012


The text of the bill below is as of Nov 28, 2012 (Introduced). The bill was not enacted into law.


II

112th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 3646

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

November 28, 2012

(for himself, Mrs. Hutchison, Ms. Mikulski, Mrs. Feinstein, Mrs. Gillibrand, Ms. Murkowski, Ms. Snowe, and Mr. Lautenberg) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations

A BILL

To require the Department of Defense to develop a strategy to promote the security of Afghan women and girls during the security transition process.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Afghan Women and Girls Security Promotion Act of 2012.

2.

Strategy for promoting the security of Afghan women and girls during the security transition process

(a)

Findings

Congress makes the following findings:

(1)

According to the Department of Defense’s April 2012 Report on Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan:

(A)

U.S. and coalition forces will continue to degrade the Taliban-led insurgency in order to provide time and space to increase the capacity of the Afghan National Security Forces and the Afghan Government so they can assume full responsibility for Afghanistan’s security by the end of 2014..

(B)

Transition to Afghan security lead began in July 2011 and transition to full Afghan security responsibility will be complete country-wide by the end of 2014..

(C)

The security of the Afghan people and the stability of the government are used to judge provincial readiness to move to each successive stage of transition implementation..

(D)

For each area designated for transition, a transition implementation plan is developed by the Government of Afghanistan, NATO, and ISAF and approved by the Joint Afghan-NATO Inteqal Board (JANIB). JANIB is also responsible for recommending areas to enter and exit the transition process.

(2)

According to a 2002 study on Women, Peace and Security submitted by the Secretary-General of the United Nations pursuant to Security Council resolution 1325 (2000), the suspension of or restriction on women’s enjoyment of their human rights can act as an early-warning indicator of impending or renewed conflict. In Afghanistan, restrictions on women’s mobility and rights can signal the presence of extremist or insurgent elements in a community.

(3)

The security of Afghan women and girls in areas undergoing security transitions will be an important gauge of the transition strategy’s success. Indicators by which to measure women’s security include the mobility of women and girls, the participation of women in local government bodies, the rate of school attendance for girls, women’s access to government services, and the prevalence of violence against women.

(4)

Maintaining and improving physical security for Afghan women and girls throughout the country is critical in order for women and girls to take advantage of opportunities in education, commerce, politics, and other areas of public life, which in turn is essential for the future stability and prosperity of Afghanistan.

(5)

Women who serve as public officials at all levels of the Government of Afghanistan face serious threats to their personal security and that of their families. Many female officials have been the victims of violent crimes, but they are generally not afforded official protection by the Government of Afghanistan or security forces.

(6)

Protecting the security and human rights of Afghan women and girls requires the involvement of Afghan men and boys through education about the important benefits of women’s full participation in social, economic, and political life. Male officials and security personnel can play a particularly important role in supporting and protecting women and girls.

(7)

The Chicago Summit Declaration issued by NATO in May 2012 states: As the Afghan National Police further develop and professionalize, they will evolve towards a sustainable, credible, and accountable civilian law enforcement force that will shoulder the main responsibility for domestic security. This force should be capable of providing policing services to the Afghan population as part of the broader Afghan rule of law system..

(8)

Women face significant barriers to full participation in the ANA and ANP, including a discriminatory or hostile work environment and the lack of separate facilities designed for female personnel.

(9)

As of September 2012, female recruitment and retention rates for the Afghan National Security Forces are far below published targets, as follows:

(A)

Approximately 1,700 women serve in the Afghan National Security Forces, or less than half of one percent of the total force.

(B)

In 2010, President Hamid Karzai announced plans to recruit and train 5,000 women in the Afghan National Police, or approximately 3 percent of the force, by 2014. Currently, there are approximately 1,370 women in the ANP, or 0.87 percent of the police force.

(C)

Approximately 350 women currently serve in the Afghan National Army, representing only 0.17 percent of the force. The Government of Afghanistan has said that its goal is to achieve a force that is 10 percent female. As of May 2012, approximately 3 percent of new ANA recruits were women.

(10)

Male security personnel often do not respond to threats or incidences of violence against women, particularly at the local level. They largely lack the training and understanding needed to respond appropriately and effectively to situations involving women. According to the Department of Defense’s April 2012 Report on Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan:

(A)

The Afghan Ministry of Defense lacks the combination of policies, procedures, and execution to promote opportunity and fair and respectful treatment of women in the force.

(B)

The Afghan Ministry of Interior faces significant challenges in fully integrating and protecting women in the ANP workforce, especially among operational units at the provincial and district levels.

(C)

In the Afghan National Police, Many Provincial Headquarters Commanders do not accept policewomen, as they prefer male candidates and lack adequate facilities to support females..

(D)

While women are greatly needed to support police operations, a combination of cultural impediments, weak recruitment, and uneven application of policies hinder significant progress..

(E)

Although stronger documentation, implementation, and enforcement of policies, procedures, and guidance to better integrate women will help, time will be needed to change the cultural mores that form the basis of many of the current impediments..

(11)

The United States, the North American Treaty Organization, and United States coalition partners have made firm commitments to support the human rights of the women and girls of Afghanistan, as evidenced by the following actions:

(A)

According to the United States National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security, integrating women and gender considerations into peace-building processes helps promote democratic governance and long-term stability, which are key United States strategic goals in Afghanistan.

(B)

The National Action Plan also states that the engagement and protection of women as agents of peace and stability will be central to United States efforts to promote security, prevent, respond to, and resolve conflict, and rebuild societies. This policy applies to United States Government efforts in Afghanistan, where addressing the security vulnerabilities of Afghan women and girls during the period of security transition is an essential step toward long-term stability.

(C)

The Chicago Summit Declaration issued by NATO in May 2012 states: We emphasize the importance of full participation of all Afghan women in the reconstruction, political, peace and reconciliation processes in Afghanistan and the need to respect the institutional arrangements protecting their rights. We remain committed to the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on women, peace and security. We recognize also the need for the protection of children from the damaging effects of armed conflict as required in relevant UNSCRs..

(12)

The Strategic Partnership Agreement signed between the United States and Afghanistan by President Obama and President Karzai in June 2012 states, Consistent with its Constitution and international obligations, Afghanistan shall ensure and advance the essential role of women in society, so that they may fully enjoy their economic, social, political, civil and cultural rights..

(b)

Strategy To promote security of Afghan women

(1)

In general

Not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Defense, in concurrence with the Secretary of State, shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a strategy to be implemented by the Department of Defense, working with the NATO Training Mission Afghanistan (NTM-A) and Afghan partners, to promote the security of Afghan women during the security transition process.

(2)

Elements

The strategy required under paragraph (1) shall include the following elements:

(A)

A strategy to monitor and respond to changes in women’s security conditions in areas undergoing transition, including the following actions:

(i)

Seeking to designate a Civilian Impact Advisor on the Joint Afghan-NATO Inteqal Board (JANIB) to assess the impact of transition on male and female civilians and ensure that efforts to protect women’s rights and security are included in each area’s transition implementation plan.

(ii)

Reviewing existing indicators against which sex-disaggregated data is collected and, if necessary, developing additional indicators, to ensure the availability of data that can be used to measure women’s security, such as—

(I)

the mobility of women and girls;

(II)

the participation of women in local government bodies;

(III)

the rate of school attendance for girls;

(IV)

women’s access to government services; and

(V)

the prevalence of violence against women; and incorporating those indicators into ongoing efforts to assess overall security conditions during the transition period.

(iii)

Integrating assessments of women’s security into current procedures used to determine an area’s readiness to proceed through the transition process.

(iv)

Working with Afghan partners, coalition partners, and relevant United States Government departments and agencies to take concrete action to support women’s rights and security in cases of deterioration in women’s security conditions during the transition period.

(B)

A strategy to increase gender awareness and responsiveness among Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police personnel, including the following actions:

(i)

Working with Afghan and coalition partners to utilize training curricula and programming that addresses the human rights of women and girls, appropriate responses to threats against women and girls, and appropriate behavior toward female colleagues and members of the community; assessing the quality and consistency of this training across regional commands; and assessing the impact of this training on trainee behavior.

(ii)

Working with national and local ANA and ANP leaders to develop and utilize enforcement and accountability mechanisms for ANA and ANP personnel who violate codes of conduct related to the human rights of women and girls.

(iii)

Working with Afghan and coalition partners to implement the above tools and develop uniform methods and standards for training and enforcement among coalition partners and across regions.

(C)

A strategy to increase the number of female members of the ANA and ANP, including the following actions:

(i)

Providing, through consultation with Afghan partners, realistic and achievable objectives for the recruitment and retention of women to the ANA and ANP by the end of the security transition period in 2014.

(ii)

Working with national and local ANA and ANP leaders and coalition partners to address physical and cultural challenges to the recruitment and retention of female ANA and ANP personnel, including through targeted recruitment campaigns, expanded training and mentorship opportunities, parity in pay and promotion rates with male counterparts, and availability of facilities for female personnel.

(iii)

Working with national and local ANA and ANP leaders to increase understanding about the unique ways in which women members of the security forces improve the force’s overall effectiveness.

(iv)

Working with national and local ANA and ANP leaders to develop a plan for maintaining and increasing the recruitment and retention of women in the ANA and ANP following the completion of the security transition.

(3)

Report

The Secretary of Defense shall include in each report on progress toward security and stability in Afghanistan that is submitted to Congress under sections 1230 and 1231 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 (Public Law 110–181; 122 Stat. 385, 390) a section describing actions taken to implement the strategy required under this subsection.

(c)

Appropriate congressional committees defined

In this section, the term appropriate congressional committees means—

(1)

the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate; and

(2)

the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives.