Ban on Secondary Education for Girls Has Devastating Consequences, Says HRW

7/13/2022

Marking 300 days since the Taliban closed doors of education for girls in Afghanistan, the Human Rights Watch on Wednesday, stated the ban has had devastating consequences for girls, their families, and the country’s future.

“It feels beyond belief that we could be having a conversation in 2022 about whether girls should be allowed to study. The world should listen to Afghan women and do more to end this shocking abuse,” said Sahar Fetrat, assistant women's rights researcher at Human Rights Watch.

Heela Yoon, an activist and founder of Afghan Youth Ambassadors for Peace, said, “Afghan women are half of the society, and if they don’t have education, I don’t think we can contribute much to the prosperity of the country.”

Fetrat has urged diplomats, donors, and the UN to engage with Afghanistan in a meaningful manner. She said that the UN and international community must have concrete plans on how to respond if the Taliban maintain their draconian position. “I want the international community to look at the full picture and see girls’ education situation in light of the women’s rights and human rights situation in Afghanistan,” added Fetrat.

The assistant women's rights researcher at Human Rights Watch also said that the world should not send out mixed messages to the Taliban. She said that flying Taliban delegations in private jets and meeting with them in different countries with smiling pictures and hopeful messages do not help the people of Afghanistan.

Tamana Ayazi, a filmmaker who was also interviewed, said, “Closing the school doors will not help the people of Afghanistan… even Taliban, will regret this later.”

On September 18, 2021, a month after taking over the country, the Taliban ordered the reopening of boys’ secondary schools, but made no mention of girls’ secondary schools. This was interpreted as a ban on girls’ secondary education. On March 21, 2022, the Taliban pledged to reopen all schools on March 23, but on that date, they closed girls’ secondary schools again. Afghanistan currently remains the only country where girls are forbidden from attending secondary schools.

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