Women and the Afghan Police

Why a law enforcement agency that respects and protects females is crucial for progress

Published: 10 September 2013
Author: 
Louise Hancock, Policy and Advocacy Adviser, Oxfam in Afghanistan

Only 1 per cent of the Afghan National Police is female. Although female police are vital for Afghan women to be able to report crimes and access desperately-needed justice, few women in Afghanistan will ever encounter one.

Further action is urgently needed to recruit, train, retain and protect Afghan female police officers. This is critical for upholding the rights of Afghan women and girls and can contribute to sustainable peace and development efforts in Afghanistan.

Key recommendations

The Afghan Government and the international community should:

  • Develop and implement an adequately resourced national strategy to recruit and retain female police.
  • Prioritize policewomen within overall police reform efforts. Backed by adequate, ring-fenced donor funding, the MoI-International Police Coordination Board Working Groups should develop specific plans within mainstream police reforms to recruit women and enhance their roles.
  • Ensure equal access to professional training and opportunities for women, and expand improved women’s rights and human rights training for all personnel.
  • Provide a safe working environment for female police - The Afghan Ministry of the Interior should take urgent steps to provide necessary facilities (e.g. locking toilets and female changing rooms), and ensure women are aware of, and have access to, a safe effective complaints mechanism.
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