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Volume 455: debated on Wednesday 10 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what role his Department had in formulating the UK contribution to the Bonn Accords on the Afghan constitution; and if he will make a statement. (113196)

Based on the Bonn Agreement, the constitution-making process in Afghanistan essentially followed a three-stage process: (i) drafting of a preliminary Constitution by the Constitutional Drafting Commission; (ii) deliberation on, refinement, finalisation and distribution of the first draft Constitution by the Constitutional Commission; and (iii) the adoption of the Constitution by the Constitutional Loya Jirga.

DFID contributed £650,000 to help fund a public consultation programme on the draft Constitution before the adoption of the document by the Constitutional Loya Jirga on 4 January 2004. A further £500,000 was also spent on outreach programmes to make the wider community aware of the purpose of the Constitution and provided a reasonable understanding of its key features.

The adoption of the new Constitution ensured a presidential system of government with a bicameral parliament. The document contains explicit recognition of equal rights for women and men and paved the way for national elections and the development of democratic institutions.