Special Secretariat to inquire into sexual harassment allegations
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The Special Secretariat will work closely with various institutions to record, document and investigate allegations of sexual harassment.
The Special Secretariat, established to examine recent allegations of sexual harassment against women in government offices, has held its first session in Kabul at the offices of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC).
Commissioner Shabnam Salihi met with representatives from the Ministries of Women's Affairs, Labour and Social Affairs, the Commission on Administrative Reforms and Civil Services, the Attorney General's Office and Women's Network of Afghanistan.
Their discussions focused on the functions and activities of the Secretariat, with Commissioner Salehi highlighting the need to develop close coordination among all institutions for recording, documenting and investigating allegations of sexual harassment.
She added that the success of the Special Secretariat in addressing these allegations could help create a healthy atmosphere in government workplaces and prevent future violence and harassment against women.
The meeting also discussed the need to ensure a transparent mechanism for receiving complaints, how cases are referred to the AIHRC and monitoring of cases heard by judicial institutions.
At the end of the meeting, all institutions represented expressed their readiness to cooperate with the Special Secretariat.
The Special Secretariat for Investigation of the Recent Allegations on Harassment of Women in the Offices has been established within the framework of the AIHRC, based on a Presidential order.
According to the order, the Special Secretariat will examine and evaluate all allegations within three months and, if criminal cases are identified, these cases should be submitted to the Attorney General's Office.
A report of the measures taken by the AIHRC shall be handed over to the Presidential office, through the AIHRC Chairperson.
Date: 8 August 2019
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