Guess what? Human Rights Watch (HRW) has stated that even with the start of the new academic year in Afghanistan from Saturday, it is a day of grief for Afghan teenage girls and the world. The girls grieve both their right to education and the world’s failure to take action to stop the ban.
- Sahar Fetrat, Assistant Researcher, Women’s Rights Division of HRW, stated that even though its been 550 days since the Taliban denied the right to education to girls and women, thegroup hasn’t worked on any of their promises to reopen the secondary schools for girls.
- The HRW urged the Taliban to immediately reverse their misogynistic order, reopen schools and universities for girls and women, and stop attacking the future of girls, women, and the country.
- “The Taliban’s misogynistic regime has made Afghanistan the only country banning girls from secondary school. They promised to respect girls’ right to education, but the day girls’ schools reopened, March 23, 2022, the Taliban shamefully broke their promise and sent teenage girls home,” she wrote in her statement.
- The statement also spoke about how the Taliban doubled down on their disregard for women last year by banning women’s university education too.
- Fetrat emphasised that no country can imagine a prosperous future without educated girls and women, and Afghanistan, with the highest level of illiteracy in the world, is facing a dark future.
- The statement added that teenage girls in Afghanistan are losing hope and some of the best years of their lives.
- The statement also called on world leaders for prompt, pragmatic, and meaningful actions.
Zoom out: This comes even as 25 women’s rights networks and 149 civil society activists have called the Taliban’s ban on girls and women’s education “shameful” with regards to it being 555 days since the closure of the gates of schools and universities to girls in the country.
- In a joint statement, the networks called the Taliban’s decision to deprive girls of education in Afghanistan a “historic disgrace” in the 21st century and called it inconsistent with Islamic teachings.
- Their statement said that the international community should stand by its 20-year commitments to Afghan women and girls and not let the educational advances of the last two decades go to waste.
- “As a network of advocates for the right of girls to access education, we call on the un-allied global leaders and international organizations to take coordinated and bold action to open girls’ schools in Afghanistan,” the statement said.
- They have also called for serious intervention by Islamic countries, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and regional actors to increase pressure on the Taliban to lift the ban on girls’ right to work.
- The network believes that restrictions on the presence of girls and women in society, their deprivation of freedoms and gender discrimination in Afghanistan, have made society face a humanitarian catastrophe.