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UN condemns Taliban decision to ban women from university, calls for ‘immediate’ withdrawal — Global Affairs


in one statementUnited Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) also urged in fact the right to “reopen girls’ schools after the sixth grade and end all measures that prevent women and girls from fully participating in everyday public life”.

Clear and current violation

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk describe The ban is “another horrifying and cruel blow to the rights of Afghan women and girls and a deeply regrettable failure for the whole country”.

Reminding that their systematic exclusion from almost every aspect of life is “unparalleled in the world,” he asserts that banning women from college is “all the more heartbreaking” to watch. consider their important contributions over the years.

“Besides the fact that girls are banned from high school, think of all the female doctors, lawyers and teachers who have lost and will die for the development of the country,” the senior official of the ministry said. UN said.

He stated that suspending women from university and higher education was a “clear violation” of Afghanistan’s obligations under international law, adding that their right to access all levels of education without exception. non-discrimination is “fundamental and unquestionable”.

targeted discrimination

Banning women from college is a continuation of the Taliban’s systematic discriminatory policies.

As of August 2021, they have banned girls from high school, restricted the freedom of movement of women and girls, excluded women from most of the workforce, and banned them from using parks. , gyms and public baths.

According to UNAMA, these restrictions culminate with the detention of Afghan women and girls within the four walls of their homes.

“Stopping half of the population from making meaningful contributions to society and the economy would have devastating effects on the whole country.”

Self-inflicted damage

UNAMA reminds that these activities will cause Afghanistan to continue to experience international isolation, economic hardship and suffering, “affecting millions of people for many years to come.”

“The United Nations estimates that restricting women from working could result in economic losses of up to $1 billion – or up to 5% of the country’s GDP,” they explained, adding that banning women Women attending universities, including female teachers and professors, will contribute to further economic losses.

Education is a fundamental human right, the UN mission reminds. The exclusion of women not only negates their right, but “it denies the entire Afghan society benefits from their contributions”.

ripple effect

The in fact UNAMA points out that the government’s exclusion of women and girls from education, the workplace and other areas of life increases the risk of forced and adolescent marriage, violence force and abuse.

“Continuing discrimination against more than half of the country’s population will hinder Afghanistan from achieving an inclusive society where everyone can live with dignity and enjoy equal opportunities.”

The organization and its partners remind the Taliban that depriving women of their free will, disenfranchising and excluding them from all aspects of public and political life is against universal human rights standards. on which peaceful and stable societies depend.

“This decision will be a negative factor for Afghans abroad who are considering returning and force many to flee the country,” the statement continued.

Girls read textbooks at Dasht-e-Barchi Education Center in Kabul, Afghanistan.  (file)

© UNICEF/Shehzad Noorani

Girls read textbooks at Dasht-e-Barchi Education Center in Kabul, Afghanistan. (file)

Close the future

The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in the country, Ramiz Alakbarov, said on Twitter that the Organization “speaks with one voice”, in sharing the outrage of millions of people and communities alike. international.

“Education is a basic human right,” he wrote on Twitter.

“A closed door to women’s education is a closed door to the future of Afghanistan.”

gender abuse

At the same time, 19 independent human rights experts appointed by the United Nations most strongly condemned the decision, noting that among many other “unreasonable restrictions”, the move could lead to oppression, a crime against humanity.

The announcement is a “flagrant violation of their human rights enshrined in numerous international treaties to which Afghanistan is a signatory and will have disastrous consequences for the Afghan people,” they said in a statement.

The experts also flagged that other Islamic scholars say there is no religious or cultural justification for that.

‘Deep impact

Educating women and girls lays the foundation for women’s economic empowerment and for achieving gender equality.

Experts claim that without educated women, there would be fewer professionals to serve the people and move Afghanistan forward.

They point out that female doctors are needed to provide women with adequate medical care because in fact the government restricts male doctors from treating women and girls.

Without female teachers, who previously made up 82% of the Ministry of Education, children’s education would suffer, and female lawyers, helping women and their families access justice.

“The intergenerational effects of such a restriction would be profound and disastrous for Afghanistan.”

They called on the Taliban to “stop using the safety of women and girls as an excuse to impose severe and disproportionate restrictions on them and instead address the root causes of violence.” and discrimination against women and girls – in particular the behavior and attitudes of men who consider them inferior. and dependent on men and boys”. Special Rapporteurs and independent experts appointed by the UN in Geneva Dong Nhan Quyen Association arrive check and report back on a particular human rights topic or national situation. The positions are honorary and professionals are not paid for their work.

A group of elementary school girls sit in a classroom at a high school in Nuristan province, Afghanistan.

© UNICEF/Sayed Bidel

A group of elementary school girls sit in a classroom at a high school in Nuristan province, Afghanistan.

hit the hardest

Meanwhile, the World Food Program (WFP) shared survey results showing that women and girls in Afghanistan are hardest hit by the economic and humanitarian crises there.

WFP says work restrictions keep many people from being able to support themselves and their children, increasing the risk of having to resort to desperate coping strategies – including selling assets, taking children out of school or skipping meals. completely.

Constraint on Limit

Women’s mobility has been further restricted by forcing them to be accompanied by male chaperones – making markets, clinics and distribution points more inaccessible.

Women aid workers, who are needed by vulnerable women and girls, face similar challenges.

And some 800,000 pregnant and lactating women are malnourished, the highest number ever recorded in Afghanistan, perpetuating the vicious cycle of malnourished mothers giving birth to malnourished children.

‘Anti erasure’

About me, UN women leader Sima Bahous declared that “the total assault on women’s rights in Afghanistan… is both short-sighted and appalling”.

“Women have always played an important role in shaping Afghanistan’s development and supporting its peace, security and resilience,” she said. “To end women’s higher education is to ignore their historical contributions and cut them off from their future potential and the potential of their country.”

call on in fact Bahous reminded that what happens to women and girls in Afghanistan is “our global responsibility.

“We must continue to amplify their voices as they resist the obliteration. In the face of the Taliban’s deliberate and systematic violations of their rights, we as the international community must continue to speak out and invest in the values ​​for which we stand, in the face of in solidarity with our Afghan sisters,” she said.

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