Guterres calls on ‘Taliban’ to reverse ban on female access to education

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On UNESCO’s International Day of Education, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on the “Taliban to reverse the outrageous and self-defeating ban on access to secondary and higher education for girls & women in Afghanistan.”

Schools for female students in grade 6-12 have remained closed for nearly one and a half years.

Last month, the Ministry of Higher Education announced that female students are banned from going to university.

The decisions have separated thousands of girls from their dreams.

“I don’t know why they selected today as the International Day of Education while all doors of the schools are closed for the students,” said Asma, a student.

Female students urged the Islamic Emirate to reopen their schools and universities.

“We are hoping to see a day that our schools are reopened for us,” said Arazo, a student.

“They have closed the universities for the girls. I cannot see my future and this is concerning for me,” said Husna, a university instructor.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said in a statement that Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, has decided to dedicate the 2023 International Day of Education (January 24) to Afghan girls and women.

“Now is the time to end all discriminatory laws and practices that hinder access to education,” Guterres said on Twitter.

This comes as OCHA announced on Tuesday that now 1.1 million Afghan girls are banned from secondary school and more than 100,000 others are banned from universities.

“It was expected that the ruling party in Afghanistan would put an end to the wait of the Afghan citizens, and reopen universities and schools,” said Marriam Marouf Arvin, a women’s rights activist.

Karen Decker, US mission chargé d’affaires, tweeted it’s “hard to celebrate” the Intl Day of Education knowing girls and women in Afghanistan are “denied this right.” “Education is an investment in Afghanistan’s future and must be available to boys and girls,” she said.

“The important point is that this is the wish of the Afghans themselves and if a government listens to the demands of its people, the people will get close to it,” said Torek Farhadi, a political analyst. —Tolo news