Afghanistan: Taliban confirms gender-based persecution

Ahmad Sahel Arman / AFP

24 March 2022. The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) strongly condemns the decision by the Taliban to keep girls’ secondary schools (i.e. above grade 6) indefinitely closed. This decision was confirmed by the Taliban yesterday, on the very day schools were supposed to re-open after a seven-month hiatus.

While the Ministry of Education had said that all schools, including girls’ high schools, would re-open at the start of the spring semester on 23 March 2022, yesterday’s decision comes as no surprise considering its consistency with the Taliban’s ideology and disregard for the Afghan population, exemplified by its violent overthrow of the elected government of Afghanistan in August 2021.

Such a decision reveals the Taliban’s dishonest discourse to persuade the Afghan population and their international interlocutors that it is committed to respecting human rights, including the rights of women and girls. It is also in breach of fundamental human rights obligations under treaties to which Afghanistan is a state party, such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

FIDH strongly urges all United Nations (UN) member states, organizations and donors planning to attend the upcoming Afghanistan Donor Conference on 31 March 2022 to make any support to the education sector contingent on the end of the gender-based persecution against women and girls in Afghanistan, including through the re-opening of all secondary schools for girls across the country.

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