The United Nations on Sunday called on Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers to reopen schools for girls in grades 7-12 as “shameful” the anniversary of their boycott from high school.
The United Nations said it was increasingly concerned that the policy, along with other restrictions on basic freedoms, would contribute to a deepening of the country’s economic crisis in the form of greater insecurity, poverty and isolation.
“This is a sad, shameful and completely avoidable anniversary,” said Marcus Potzel, the acting head of the UN mission in Afghanistan.
A year after the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan, the Taliban-led government is dominated by hardliners. Teenage girls are still barred from school and women have to cover themselves from head to toe in public, with only their eyes visible. The religious group has failed to deliver on various promises to get girls back in the classroom. The ban targets grades 7-12, primarily affecting girls aged 12 to 18.
The Taliban reopened high schools for boys, instructing girls to stay at home. The United Nations estimates that over one million girls have been barred from attending high school in the past year.
“There is no credible justification for the exclusion of girls from high school and there is no parallel anywhere in the world. This is very damaging to a generation of girls and to the future of Afghanistan itself,” said Potzel, who is also the UN Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan.
To mark Sunday’s anniversary, 50 girls sent a letter titled “A Year of Darkness: A Letter from Afghan Girls to Head to Muslim Countries and Other World Leaders.” The girls are residents of the capital Kabul, East Nangarhar Province and North Parwan Province.
“Over the past year, we have been denied human rights, such as the right to education, the privilege of working, the freedom to live with dignity, freedom, mobility and speech, and the right to determine and make decisions for ourselves. Right,” Azadi, an 18-year-old student of Class 11 from Kabul, said in the letter. The girls whose names are in the letter have only given their first names.
The United Nations said that the denial of education violates the most fundamental rights of girls and women. The world body said it raises the risk of marginalization, violence, exploitation and abuse against girls and a string of discriminatory policies and practices targeting women and girls since de facto authorities came to power in the summer of 2021. Part of a wide range.
The United Nations again called on the Taliban to reverse the measures they have introduced to restrict the enjoyment of their basic rights and freedoms to Afghan women and girls.
Since taking power, the Taliban have struggled to rule and remain isolated internationally. An economic downturn has pushed millions more Afghans into poverty and hunger as the flow of foreign aid slows.