Summary: 20 June 2012, Brussels - The spokesperson of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the Commission Catherine Ashton issued the following statement today rejecting the comments by the Afghan Minister of Justice on women:
"High Representative Catherine Ashton is deeply troubled by the comments attributed to Mr Habibiullah Ghalib, the Afghan Minister of Justice. His comments set back efforts to fight violence against women in Afghanistan, including the need to provide victims with safe places to take shelter.
Too many Afghan women have experienced violence, gender based and sexual, often on a repeated basis. Women forced to resort to shelters are amongst the bravest Afghans we know: they refuse to continue being victimised and instead have acted to ensure their own safety and that of their children. They deserve the support of the international community and from the Afghan Government.
The High Representative looks forward to seeing the results of the new law on the Elimination of Violence against Women which, if implemented properly, has the potential to protect women against violence and ensure the safety of victims."