Decision on girls’ schools impacts engagement: EU

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The European Union on Monday in a statement said the decision on girls’ education by the Islamic Emirate violates the fundamental right to education, and called for the immediate re-opening of secondary schools for girls in the country.

The EU said the decision was also in violation of several international human rights agreements of which Afghanistan is a state party. According to the statement, the decision to suspend the reopening of girls’ schools beyond grade six was also in contradiction with the Islamic Emirate’s commitment. The EU said the decision had no cultural or religious justification.

“This decision further erodes the Taliban’s chances to gain the domestic legitimacy that they seek, which should be earned by inclusive and responsible governance rather than through the use of force and violence,” the statement reads.

The EU said that the decision on school undermines the Islamic Emirate’s credibility in the eyes of the international partners. It said that since August last year, the EU opted for a policy of principled and targeted engagement in the interest of the people of Afghanistan, but the recent decision undermines the engagement too. “The Taliban’s decision, unless urgently reversed, will have far-reaching implications on the confidence-building aspect that such engagement requires,” it said.

The EU said girls’ education was necessary for a prosperous country and women’s full, equal, and meaningful participation in the society and politics.

Based the previous commitments and announcements by the Islamic Emirate, all girls’ schools were set to reopen on Wednesday. Girls beyond grade six, however, were not allowed to attend school on Wednesday and were told to wait until further notification.

Amnesty International also on Monday said the decision negatively impacts Afghan girls’ future. It called on the international community to make women’s and girls’ rights to education a red line during their negotiations with the Islamic Emirate officials.

“The Taliban’s citing of Sharia and Afghan culture is an old trick designed to deny women and girls their rights. It is a completely unacceptable justification for their devastating U-turn this week, which is a blatant violation of the right to education and casts a shadow over the futures of millions of Afghan girls. Denying girls the right to education will have a far-reaching impact on Afghanistan’s prospects of social rebuilding and economic growth,” said Yamini Mishra, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director.

The US State Department, reacting to the ban on intl media broadcasts and on girls’ education by the Islamic Emirate, said these were in contradiction with the previous promises and called for the reversal of the decisions.

“Education and freedom of expression are human rights held by every person in Afghanistan. These are not Western values or concessions to the international community; they are human rights and essential to a peaceful and prosperous Afghan society, which is something the Taliban claim to desire. We urge the Taliban to cease these infringements on the rights of Afghans, and we continue to stand with the Afghan people,” it said.—Telenews

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