25 women’s rights activist networks and 149 civil society activists have described the Taliban’s decision to close the doors of schools and universities to girls in Afghanistan for 550 days as “a historic shame” in the 21st century, according to a joint statement released on Friday, March 24.
In their statement, the networks have stated that the decision of Taliban on education and schooling for girls in Afghanistan is against Islamic principles, calling it a violation of women’s and girls’ rights in the country. They also noted that the international community must stand by its 20-year commitment to Afghan women and girls and prevent the education advances of the past two decades from being destroyed.
“We, as a network of defenders and advocates for girls’ access to education, call on the leaders of the United Nations and international organizations to take coordinated and courageous action to open girls’ schools in Afghanistan,” the statement read.
The networks also demand that Islamic countries, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and regional actors intervene to increase pressure on Taliban to lift the ban on girls’ education and women’s right to work.
According to these networks, restrictions on the presence of girls and women in society, their deprivation of freedoms, and gender discrimination in Afghanistan have led to a humanitarian crisis.
It was believed that Taliban would allow girls above grade six to return to school at the start of the new academic year, but apparently, the group has shown no willingness to reopen girls’ schools in the country.