On International Day of Education, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday called on the Taliban in Afghanistan to reverse the ban on girls’ access to secondary and higher education.
Guterres called education a fundamental right and said it is now time for all countries to ensure they actually take steps to develop welcoming and inclusive learning environments for all.
“Now is also the time to end all discriminatory laws and practices that hinder access to education. I call on the de facto authorities in Afghanistan in particular to lift the scandalous and self-defeating ban on access to secondary and higher education for girls to undo.” the UN Secretary-General’s official spokesman said in a press release.
Guterres took to Twitter and also tweeted saying, “Now is the time to end all discriminatory laws and practices that hinder access to education.”
The theme of this year’s International Day of Education reminds us to “invest in people, prioritize education,” the UN’s official release added.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has decided to dedicate the 2023 International Day of Education to Afghan girls and women, said TOLOnews Director General of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay.
According to UNESCO, about 80 percent of school-aged Afghan girls and young women are currently out of school under Taliban rule, as they have denied them access to secondary schools and universities.
After the Taliban indefinitely banned university education for Afghan girls, several humanitarian organizations, including Education Cannot Wait (ECW), a United Nations global multibillion-dollar fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises, called on Taliban authorities in Kabul to withdraw their decision to suspend the university education of Afghan women.
The ECW called on the interim Taliban government to return all girls to education, saying the UN-led humanitarian organization stands in solidarity with women in Afghanistan and adding that everyone has an inherent human right to education.
OCHA announced on Tuesday that 1.1 million Afghan girls have now been banned from secondary school and more than 100,000 others have been banned from universities.
Furthermore, Karen Decker, the chargé d’affaires of the US mission, tweeted: “It is difficult today to commemorate International Day of Education knowing that Afghan women and girls are now being denied this right. Education is an investment in Afghanistan’s future and must be be available to boys and girls.” girls.”
On Dec. 24, de facto authorities issued a decree banning women from working in NGOs, TOLOnews reported. This came after they had already suspended university education for women and secondary education for girls until what they called further notice.
Since August 15, 2021, the Taliban have barred girls from secondary school, restricted women’s and girls’ freedom of movement, excluded women from most parts of the workforce, and banned women from using parks, gyms, and public bathhouses. These restrictions culminate in the confinement of Afghan women and girls within the four walls of their homes.
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