UAE envoy at UN: Not allowing Afghan girls to attend school ‘unacceptable’

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The UAE ambassador to the UN, Lana Zaki Nusseibeh, harshly criticized the Islamic Emirate’s restrictions on Afghan women and girls.

While speaking at the UN Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace, and Security on Thursday, Nusseibeh said that it was “unacceptable” that girls in Afghanistan are still not allowed to attend secondary schools.

“It has been almost 400 days since girls in Afghanistan have not been allowed to attend secondary schools, there are no ifs, and, or buts, the UAE finds this and the many other restrictions in place since the Taliban took over completely unacceptable,” Nusseibeh told the UN Security Council at an annual meeting on women, peace and security.

“This is enabling gender apartheid,” Nusseibeh told the UN Security Council. “We find ourselves still battling the misconceptions of women and girls as victims or survivors, but not agents of change,” UAE’s Nusseibeh said.

Meanwhile, the Islamic Emirate’s spokesman told a Turkish news outlet in an interview that girls’ schools above the sixth grade will open after the issues have been handled and a procedures has been developed.

“A part of the schools, from sixth to twelfth grade, is closed so that their curriculum will be more accurate, the physical safety of women and their dignity and chastity will be preserved more properly, and because of some concerns that families have and because Afghanistan is a country with cultures, traditions, sensitivities, and issues of honor, in order to solve these issues, a proper way is underway, this will also be allowed,” he said.

This comes as the United Nations also said that the denial of education violates the human rights of women & girls and can leave them more exposed to violence, poverty and exploitation.

“Afghanistan: The denial of education violates the human rights of women & girls and can leave them more exposed to violence, poverty and exploitation. All students must be allowed to exercise their right to an education,” United Nations tweeted.

“It has been more than a year since the schools have been closed to us, and I ask the Islamic Emirate to reopen schools for us,” said Sohaila, a student.

This comes as the Group of Friends of Women in Afghanistan, with representatives from 27 countries, expressed deep concern regarding the increasing “erosion of respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of women and girls in Afghanistan by the Taliban,” including limiting access to education for women and girls.

Meanwhile, Several nations requested the lifting of restrictions on women in Afghanistan during the UN Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace, and Security.

The ambassador of Norway to the UN said that efforts are being made to facilitate direct communication between Afghan women and the Islamic Emirate.

“Afghanistan women continue to ask the international community to create the platform for them to engage directly with the Taliban, and we will continue to look for safe spaces for them to do so,” said Mona Juul, Permanent Representative of Norway to the United Nations.

“Holding such meetings and expressing support for Afghan women’s rights can definitely be inspiring in the current situation that Afghan women are in, and it shows that the world has not forgotten Afghan women. But until the declared commitments of the international community to defend and support Afghan women are actually upheld, Afghan women will not progress,” said Maryam Marouf Arween, a women’s rights activist.

During the debate, the China representative to the UN expressed his hope that women’s rights and interests would be protected in Afghanistan.

“China hopes that they will have their basic rights and their interest is protected and that they will integrate organically into the country’s economic and social life and become an important force in the peace and rebuilding of their country,” said Geng Shuang Deputy Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations.

At the Security Council meeting, US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that the US has formed a US-Afghan consultative mechanism.

“The US established the US-Afghan consultative mechanism. This mechanism systematically engages a diverse range of Afghan voices, particularly women and civil society leaders so their perspectives are integrated into our policy discussion,” said US ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield.

Ambassador R. Ravindra, India’s deputy permanent representative, called for the rights of women and minorities in Afghanistan to be respected.

“Full immunity has been attained, and there is no threat to Afghanistan. Thousands of courts have been formed throughout the provinces and districts to serve the public and protect their rights. Anyone who has a problem with their rights should go to court, where their rights will be secured,” said Zabiullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Islamic Emirate.—Agencies

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