MP campaigns for Afghan women’s rights


FYLDE MP Mark Menzies has leant his support to a campaign for women’s rights in Afghanistan.

The Member of Parliament attended an event in Parliament where a cross-party group of MPs and peers gave their backing to Amnesty International’s bid to ensure greater freedoms for Afghan women.

The charity says women are facing mounting threats from the Taliban and other armed groups in the country and is urging the Government to provide extra support.

In Afghanistan, voting in elections requires voters to press a purple-inked finger onto the ballot paper – so the purple-ink finger has been taken up by campaigners as a symbol of Afghan women’s participation in the political process.

In the past the Taliban has issued warnings against voting in Afghan elections and there have been reports of voters who are stained with purple ink actually having fingers cut off by the group.

Mr Menzies said: “Unlike in Afghanistan, whoever you vote for in an election in Britain you won’t face death threats simply for putting a cross on the ballot paper.

“It has taken true courage for Afghan women to defy the Taliban – to vote in elections, to work in high-profile jobs, and to send their children to school.

“This is a vital campaign. We mustn’t turn our backs on the women and girls of Afghanistan.”

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen added: “Afghan women campaigners have told us they fear women’s rights could be traded away in favour of a deal with the Taliban, so it’s  heartening to see politicians pledging their support in this way.

“We need as many MPs as possible to back this campaign to keep the issue in the minds of ministers.”


Photograph: Mark Menzies MP with Karen Merritt, from Amnesty International’s Lytham St Annes group, at the charity’s reception in Parliament

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