Marking Nowruz and the start of the new school year in Afghanistan, the UN has once more called on the Taliban to reverse its bans on women and girls education.
“UNAMA reiterates its call to de facto authorities to reverse all discriminatory policies against women and girls,” the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said in a tweet on Tuesday. In addition to impeding aspirations of half of Afghanistan’s population, the UN mission added, these policies cause a “great damage” to the country.
According to Executive Director of the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Catherine Russell, girls have been denied for a total of more than three years as a result of the Taliban’s edicts and as well the COVID-19 restrictions.
The UNICEF chief described the Taliban’s bans as “unjustified and shortsighted” decision. “This unjustified and shortsighted decision has crushed the hopes and dreams of more than one million girls, and marks another grim milestone in the steady erosion of girls’ and women’s rights nationwide,” she said in a statement issued on Tuesday.
Russel warned that denying education to girls would also have far-reaching consequences for Afghanistan’s economy and health system, calling on the Taliban to allow girls immediately return to school.
The UN Women also joined the call reminding that with the new school year started in Afghanistan, “Afghan girls are denied their basic right to education for the second year in a row.”
In March 2022, the Taliban barred girls from secondary education and in December of the same year, the group banned female students from attending universities across the country.
Though the international community and the Islamic world have repeatedly called for the reversal of these bans, the Taliban leadership have so far rejected to change course and imposed even more restrictions on women’s individual freedoms.