"As the Canadian mission in Afghanistan transitions to training, diplomacy and development, our Government joins Canadians in honouring those who gave their lives and in recognizing the sacrifice and achievements of all the men and women, both military and civilian, who have served and continue to serve in Afghanistan. Our Government will continue to recognize and support all veterans."
I commend our Government for honouring those who so courageously represent our country in Afghanistan. I do however also want to acknowledge the fact that Canada’s mission in Afghanistan is indeed transitioning from combat to training. I strongly believe that we need to closely examine the content of that training. For example, currently Afghan police forces receive half an hour of training on women’s rights. This is simply inadequate.
We most certainly need to ensure that women are at the table in peace negotiations, are well represented in the police force and our politically engaged as this is of the utmost importance. However, what is equally important is the need to make sure that police forces receive training that is gender sensitive.
If Canada is going to help create a more stable and secure Afghanistan then it will need to ensure that women are part of the equation. It is not in Canada’s interests to hold Afghan women back from complete participation in capacity building, whether they live in cities or rural areas. The change in the Canadian Forces mission gives Canada a tremendous opportunity to design gender sensitive training practices that underpin women’s security.
For more information on Canada's new role in Afghanistan I strongly urge you to read the Senate Standing Committee on Human Right's report entitled "Training in Afghanistan: Include Women". This report can be accessed by visiting the following link: