§ Joan Ruddock
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has received the UN Secretary General's report to the Commission on the Status of Women on discrimination against women and girls in Afghanistan (E/CN.6/2002/5 dated 24 January); and what action he will take to ensure the recommendations are implemented. 
§ Mr. Bradshaw
We have received the UN Secretary General's Report to the Commission on the Status of Women on discrimination against women and girls in Afghanistan (E/CN.6/2002/5 dated 24 January). We welcome its recommendations. At the UN, the UK co-sponsored a Consensus Resolution on women and girls in Afghanistan (E/CN.6/2002/L.4/Rev.2) approved on 25 March, which urges the Interim Administration to undertake a series of steps aimed at improving the quality of life for women.
As stated in my reply of 28 February to my hon. Friend, Official Report, columns 1638–39W, we have always said that the restoration of human rights, including women's rights, will be key to the establishment of stable systems of government in Afghanistan.
We welcome the role that women are playing in the Afghan Interim Authority, both in the Interim Administration and on the Loya Jirga Commission. While the form of any future Afghan Government is for the Afghan people to decide, we expect that women will be involved.
On reconstruction, our projects have always involved women and this will continue in the recovery and rehabilitation process. The involvement of women in projects, and use of expertise on gender issues will help to ensure that the rights of women are promoted—particularly recognising the complexity of gender issues in Afghanistan.