Green MEP Hannah Neumann. [European Union / EP 2019]

Kabul, Afghanistan – Hannah Neuman, a German member of the European Parliament, called for reconsideration to reopening of girls’ school amid firm restrictions that has deprived female students of their fundamental right – the right to education. 

This came at a time the Islamic Emirate has shut down all-girls school across the country since beginning of the Afghan new year in late March, where both private and government sectors mark a new school calendar as well.  

“Girls going back to school on March 23 with hopes for the future being turned down with tears in their eyes, going back home, and some of these families literally used their last penny to allow them to go to school–buy these backpacks, buy these books…” Neuman said, as TOLOnews quoted. 

Last month, 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 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 on girls’ education. 

Girls arrive at their school in Kabul on March 23, 2022. – The Taliban ordered girls’ secondary schools in Afghanistan to shut on March 23 just hours after they reopened, an official confirmed, sparking confusion and heartbreak over the policy reversal by the hardline Islamist group. (Photo by Ahmad SAHEL ARMAN / AFP)

On Wednesday, speaking at a press conference in Kabul, Neuman expressed concerns over the ongoing political crisis in Afghanistan, where stories of violence against protesters, journalists and basic human rights have echoed worldwide. 

“I heard many stories about violence, about violence against protestors, violence against journalists, about enforced disappearances, also enforced disappearances of people who just did their job in the administration, but with the new rulers taking over were not wanted anymore,” she exclaimed, according to the local media.  

Criticizing the groups leadership in Afghanistan, Neuman elaborated the knowledge and skills needed to lead a country that represents citizens of the nation. 

“The Taliban are good fighters apparently because they managed to take over a country, but governing a country needs a rather different set of skills, it especially needs leaders that listen to the citizens that they want to represent,” she explained. 

Meanwhile, Neuman hoped for inclusive dialogues where women and minority groups will be part of greater change, saying this could only be the right approach to avoid frustration and violation in the country. 

 “…I hope to see soon some kind of dialogue between the people of Afghanistan that includes the women of Afghanistan but also the minority groups,” Neuman added, “because that is deeply needed, otherwise frustration will pile up, violations will pile up.”  

In 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. 

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