European Parliament seeks end to restrictions on girl’s education

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The European parliament members in a statement on Thursday expressed their deep concerns over the ban on education for girls above grade 6 in Afghanistan, and said the situation of women and girls in the country is “steadily deteriorating.”

The European parliament called on the Islamic Emirate to reverse these restrictions, saying that new rulers of Afghanistan previously committed that they would ensure access to education for all citizens.

Members of the European parliament, meanwhile, expressed concerns over the steadily deteriorating situation of human rights, specially the rights of women and girls, in Afghanistan since last August.

They condemned persistent focus on erasing women and girls from public life and denying their most fundamental rights, including to education, work, movement and healthcare.

“Amid a worsening human rights situation and following a recent decision, Afghan women are no longer allowed to travel distances of more than 45 miles (72 km) from their home without the accompaniment of a close male relative,” the European parliament members said in their resolution.

The European parliament also called on EU member states to support women’s rights’ activists in Afghanistan.

The EU, Human Rights Watch as well as the Ireland mission to the UN also voiced concerns over the Islamic Emirate’s recent decision to prevent girls in grade 7-12 to from going to school.

“But this is not sufficient. Women must be equal partners in shaping new Afghan reality. The Taliban must reverse their decision to deny education to girls,” said Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

Based on available numbers, the female students above grade six have not participated in their classes for more than 200 days.

Human Rights Watch called on the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to urge the Islamic Emirate to reopen schools for girls above grade six.

“There had been some important responses in the last week or two– to the abusive decision by the Taliban to continue their ban on girls secondary education. It was important to see the statement from the organization of the Islamic Cooperation which represents 53 countries, it is useful to see that the special representatives on Afghanistan from three different countries met in the last day or two to discuss the crisis,” said Heather Barr, associate director of the Women’s Rights Division at Human Rights Watch.

“Afghan girls have been denied their right to education for 200 days There’s no justification for this,” the Ireland mission to the UN said on Twitter. “We call on the Taliban to uphold the right of all children to education. The future of Afghanistan is at stake.”

Afghan women rights activists said the closing of schools has disappointed the female students.

“It has been 200 days since education became a disappointment for the girls and women in Afghanistan,” said Farah Mustafavi, a women’s rights activist.

The female students expressed frustration over the closing of schools and said that they have been counting the minutes for the schools to be reopened.

“We will continue our fighting. We are the girls of the past 20 years and we will not surrender,” said Nida, a student.—Tolonews

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