The ongoing unlawful denial of girls and women’s right to education in Afghanistan is impacting an entire generation and the country’s future, Said Richard Bennett, the UN special envoy for Afghanistan and other UN experts on Mondy.
The statement was issued on 20 March 2023, two days before schools reopened across Afghanistan. The statement read that teenage girls will not be allowed to resume their studies for the second straight school year, making Afghanistan the only country in the world that bans girls and young women from attending secondary and higher education.
The statement further said that the de facto authorities “has no justification for denying the right to education, on any grounds, including religion or tradition.”
It further emphasized that as per several UN conventions. Afghanistan is obliged to respect, protect and fulfil the right to education without discrimination based on gender or any other ground, irrespective of the authority in power.
The UN noted that this is the second time the Taliban authorities denied women and girls their rights to education; the first time was during their initial rule between 1996 and 2001. Both times, the ban on girls’ education was introduced temporarily.
Moreover, the UN expressed concerns about the quality of education offered to boys and girls, even if the restriction is lifted. Reports said that secondary schools for boys show that professionals replacing with religious teachers, significant alterations in the school curriculum and a limited provision of school subjects.
They urged the de facto government to immediately reopen schools and universities for girls and young women in Afghanistan.
Despite repeated calls on the Kabul administration to reopen schools for girls and women and consider their fundamental rights to education, the current regime has not changed or reversed its policies regarding women’s work and education in Afghanistan.