UN calls for restoration of university rights for Afghan women

UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous has called for the restoration of Afghan women’s right to higher education after the Taliban-run administration banned female students from university.

“It is as short-sighted as it is appalling,” she said.

Bahous called on the Taliban-run administration to immediately restore the full rights of women and girls, which include the right to education, as well as to work and to participate in public life, reports Xinhua news agency.

Women have always played a key role in shaping Afghanistan’s development, and in supporting its peace, security and resilience, said Bahous, adding that to end women’s higher education is to ignore their historical contributions and sever them from their future potential and the potential of their country.

As UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated, the denial of education violates the equal rights of women and girls and will have a devastating impact on Afghanistan’s future. It condemns the country to further economic hardship, suffering and international isolation, said Bahous.

Without education, a generation of Afghan women and girls will not have the skills they need to fully contribute to the development of their country. Without education, their pathways to participation and leadership are further constrained, leaving them vulnerable to discrimination and gender-based violence, she added.

On Tuesday, the Taliban regime’s Education Ministry said the decision, which will further restrict women’s access to formal education, was taken at a cabinet meeting and the indefinite ban would go into effect immediately.

After the country fell to the Taliban in August 2021, universities had introduced gender segregated classrooms and entrances.

Female students could only be taught by women professors or old men.

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