Kabul, Afghanistan – Heather Barr, Associate Director of the Women’s Rights Division at Human Rights Watch, dubs Afghanistan the “only country on the planet” to deny girls access to education, warning of the devastating impact of the Taliban action.
After the Taliban imposed a ban in September of 2021, it has been 389 days that girls in Afghanistan are restricted from attending secondary schools despite international calls for reconsideration.
“This is absolutely a shameful situation which makes Afghanistan the only country on the planet which systematically denies girls access to education because of gender,” she added. “This is going to have a devastating impact.”
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A number of female students above grade six and residents of the country urged the government to reopen secondary schools for them.
“If schools are closed even for one day that is a big loss for girls and Afghanistan, I hope schools reopen for girls,” said Shakila, a student, as TOLOnews quoted.
“Girls have the same right to go to schools as boys, and Islam also emphasizes girls’ education,” said Najma, another student.
Meanwhile, the deputy spokesman of the Islamic Emirate said efforts are continuing to reopen schools for girls above grade six. He, however, did not provide further details on the matter.
“On this issue, officials of the Islamic Emirate have explained it to you and that is enough for now,” said Billa Karimi, Deputy Spokesman for the Islamic Emirate.
In March, the Islamic Emirate on a formal decree banned female students of grade six and above from attending classes in schools throughout the country.
The decision by the group has triggered a backlash among international communities and the United Nations, including foreign ministries of Canada, France, Italy, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the U.S., urging for immediate reconsideration of girls’ education.
On August 15, 2021, the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, rolling back women’s rights advances and media freedom – the foremost achievements of the post-2001 reconstruction efforts on gender equality and freedom of speech.