The stand-off is deepening House Democrats’ issues concerning the administration’s angle towards oversight and about a few of its insurance policies regarding girls and women, which they are saying that could be undermining the Women, Peace and Security Strategy unveiled in June 2019.
It additionally illustrates the challenges of conducting authorities enterprise because the coronavirus pandemic maintains its grip on the nation.
The WPS technique, which received bipartisan reward, acknowledged the hyperlink between girls’s empowerment and international peace and safety, and famous that international locations that marginalize girls socially and politically usually tend to expertise battle. The departments of State, Defense, Homeland Security and the US Agency for International Development unveiled plans to implement the technique on June 11.
But when Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York, the chairwoman of the House Oversight Committee, and Rep. Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts, chairman of the subcommittee on nationwide safety, requested officers from the businesses to testify about these plans in a digital listening to, in line with Covid precautions, the administration countered by saying they might solely ship officers to testify in individual.
“Like the American Enterprise Institute, the Subcommittee planned to hold its event remotely to avoid unnecessarily exposing the Capitol Police, custodial workers, and other essential frontline workers to the risks of the coronavirus pandemic, which has surged dangerously over the past several weeks,” Maloney and Lynch wrote. “Despite these risks, your departments refused,” citing White House steering “which demands that both the Chairman and witnesses appear in person, regardless of the health risks to frontline workers.”
The Department of Homeland Security and USAID had not responded to requests for remark as of Tuesday afternoon. The Defense Department referred queries to the White House. The State Department addressed questions the Democrats raised concerning the Strategy itself, however didn’t deal with the administration’s resolution to insist that officers would solely attend a listening to in individual.
Besides this “obstruction,” the Democrats stated they’ve issues that “since assuming office, the Trump Administration has aggressively pursued policies that conflict with its own Women, Peace, and Security Strategy.”
They pointed to the Trump administration’s February 2020 peace settlement with the Taliban that features no ensures to guard the rights of girls and women and as a substitute leaves the difficulty to be dealt with internally.
The Taliban’s oppression of girls and women in the course of the 1990s — barring them from colleges, jobs and even leaving their homes with no male guardian — drove US insurance policies that started in the course of the administration President George W. Bush and have been meant to enhance protections, alternatives and rights for Afghan girls and women. Regional consultants say the Taliban is now extra highly effective than it has been in a few years, because it negotiates with a divided Afghan authorities.
A State Department spokesperson instructed Source that “differences among Afghans about how the country should be governed will be settled in intra-Afghan negotiations. It is up to the Afghans to find a resolution that is unique to their circumstances, just like every other country.” The spokesperson, talking on background, added that, “we have pressed for an inclusive Afghan national team that represents all Afghans, including women and minorities and other Afghans who want to preserve Afghanistan’s gains, especially the rule of law and democratic values.”
The House Democrats additionally flagged a disconnect between the WPS technique, which says the administration will “prevent and respond to violence against women and girls,” together with sexual violence, human trafficking, and slavery, partly by “supporting multilateral efforts, including at the United Nations (UN).”
The letter notes that in April 2019, the administration threatened to veto a UN decision on combating rape as a weapon of struggle, as a result of it included language on reproductive and sexual well being. It additionally notes that the Trump administration has pulled funding from the UN Population Fund, saying the group had used these US funds for applications to combat gender-based violence and sexual and reproductive well being companies and applications to combat gender-based violence that helped thousands and thousands of girls and women worldwide.
The State Department responded by pointed to an announcement it launched on June 19 noting that 12 years in the past, in the course of the Bush administration, the US wrote and sponsored the primary UN Security Council decision that addressed sexual violence as a weapon of struggle.
“The United States remains strongly committed at the highest levels to prevent sexual violence in conflict, hold perpetrators accountable, and support survivors,” the assertion stated. “We continue to promote equality and accountability by leveraging the full weight of the US government including through the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) strategy to promote human rights and dignity for all women and girls.”