Clerics consulting on reopening girls’ school: Official

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The head of the Afghanistan Technical and Vocational Education and Training Authority, Ghulam Haidar Shuhamat, said that religious scholars are consulting over the decision on the reopening of schools for girls.

He made the remarks during a large educational meeting in Parwan, which was attended by around 300 members of the Islamic Emirate and government employees as well as clerics.

“The clerics from all over the country are deciding on schools, and we are sure that our clerics will find a good solution,” Shehamat said.

Shehamat said that getting an education is obligatory for every man and woman.

“The responsibility is on everyone, and it does not matter about women or men–when women study in a faculty, whether or not those faculties are useful for them is a separate issue,” Shehamat said.

“Those girls that were registered before with us, their inclusion is in place and not canceled–it is just pending,” said Sher Mohammad Haqqani, director of the Technical and Vocational Education department in Parwan.

Meanwhile, some students at the gathering urged the government to pay attention to education.

“We made it this far with our own means, if they support us, we will make it better than this,” said Zuhor, a student.

It has been more than one year since schools for female students above grade six have been closed, and leaders of the Islamic Emirate have not made a decision about opening schools.

Richard Bennett, the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in Afghanistan, said that the leaders of the Islamic Emirate are not of one opinion regarding the reopening of girls’ schools in Afghanistan above the sixth grade.

“I was told that there are five people who are keeping the girls’ schools closed, five very powerful people, in the … hierarchy, including the supreme leader, but the majority even on the Taliban side are in favor of the opening of girls’ schools,” he said.

Bennett made the remarks while participating in a meeting held by the “Afghan Lawyer Association in Europe” in Copenhagen, Denmark, where he expressed concerns about human rights violations, particularly the violations of the freedoms of women and girls in Afghanistan, and asked the world to assist the country in this area.

Speaking at the meeting, Bennett criticized the Islamic Emirate’s treatment of women, particularly protestors.

Some participants said the international community is responsible for Afghanistan’s current situation.

“The is the responsibility of the international community, their presence and their careless departure, their lack of planning, and at the same time, the United Nations being an observer in the current situation, its way of only being an observer–these are all the reasons sustaining the crisis in Afghanistan. I also noted that the international community and the Taliban have taken hostage the rights of Afghan women,” said Shafiqa Razmenda, head of an institution for Afghan women in Europe.

Meanwhile, some participants at the meeting believe that the solution to the problems in the field of human rights in Afghanistan is the enforcement of the constitution.

“The participants raised all the crises in the country, including the major legal crisis, and the need for the urgent enforcement of the constitution and the implementation of the laws, in order to find a way to solve the legitimacy crisis in Afghanistan,” said Abdul Wahed Sadat, head of the Afghan Lawyer Association in Europe.

Female students ask the Islamic Emirate to reopen their schools as soon as possible after more than a year has passed since the closure of schools for females’ above sixth-grade.

“Our first year was a waste, and our second year is also going to be a waste. They say that school is starting, and every day when I wake up, I imagine going to school, but I’m unable to go, and I’m really depressed,” a student named Asma said.

“I ask the Islamic Emirate to keep our schools open so we can continue our education. For myself and my family, I had many aspirations of becoming someone,” bsaid Fatema Noor, a student.

The Islamic Emirate has not responded to Richard Bennett’s recent remarks, although Kabul has repeatedly emphasized that it is protecting human rights, particularly women’s rights.

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