Int’l criticism of closed girls’ schools remains strong

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The closing of schools for girls over grade six continues to face reactions by various countries and international organizations.

The UN Assistant Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) called the ban on girls’ access to education “shocking” and said Afghanistan is the only country where girls are being denied access to education.

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.

The Ministry of Education said earlier that it has sent the plan about the fate of the girls schools to the Prime Minister’s office.—Reuters

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