Afghan teenagers have told Amnesty International that the Taliban’s decision to revoke the announcement of reopening girls’ schools has “devastated” and “traumatized” them.
On March 23, high school students returned to class for the first time in seven months. While many students waited for classes to begin, Taliban leaders announced at 9 a.m. that it had been decided to keep girls’ schools closed until school uniforms were in line with customs and culture. Afghans as well as Sharia and all these girls. they were ordered to leave their establishment immediately.
Depriving girls of their right to education will have a far-reaching impact on Afghanistan’s prospects for social reconstruction and economic growth.
Yamini Mishra, South Asia Director of Amnesty International
“Invoking Sharia and Afghan culture is an old tactic to deny women and girls their rights. This is an absolutely unacceptable justification for this week’s devastating investment, which is a flagrant violation of the right to education and darkens the future of millions of young Afghans. Depriving girls of their right to education will have a major impact on Afghanistan’s prospects for social reconstruction and economic growth, “said Yamini Mishra, Amnesty International’s director for South Asia.
“Amnesty International calls on the international community to make the right of girls and women to education a matter of principle when negotiating with the Taliban authorities. de facto. The Taliban should immediately allow girls of all ages to go to school and stop using cynical excuses to promote their discriminatory ideas. »
“We were all devastated”
Afghan students, teachers, principals and activists were shocked when, hours after arriving at their school, they were informed of the new Taliban order and found themselves again faced with the reality that the girls were denied. education.
Since the Taliban took power in Afghanistan seven months ago, they have made a number of commitments to defend the right of girls to education. The Ministry de facto of Education issued a statement on March 20, announcing that all schools would reopen after the end of the winter holidays on March 23. High schools, however, remained closed to girls. In Herat province, high schools remained open for only two days and on the third day students were told that schools would be closed.
Nadia, 17, is a high school student in Badakchan province. On March 24, she told Amnesty International: “I was very excited. I went to high school full of hope. I met my friends and teachers. We were all happy. We all wanted to start classes. But after a few minutes the headmistress arrived and told us we had to leave. She had been ordered to close schools for girls. We were all devastated. Some began to cry, others fell silent. I really didn’t want to leave high school, but I was forced to move on. It broke my heart to leave school behind again, not knowing if I would ever be allowed to return. »
Since March 23, residents, students and women’s rights activists have led several protests in Kabul, Nangarhar and Badakhshan provinces to demand that the Taliban open secondary schools for girls immediately. On Saturday, March 26, the girls took to the streets in Kabul. In verified videos, seen by Amnesty, we can see activists claiming that this decision will lead to a loss of skills among high school girls, and that their isolation will traumatize them and deprive them of a future.
“We showed the Taliban our pens and told them we had a right to an education. We kept singing “We Want to Learn.” »
Several high schools in Kabul reported that the girls had returned to their schools, but they were quickly ordered to go home. Nakisa, 16, a young man in Kabul, was among those who went to school on March 23. She said, “Despite the fear and uncertainty, I got to high school. I was hoping to get a chance to start classes, but at 9 a.m. some men arrived on the school grounds and In the past, no man could enter our property unless coordinated with the management, but yesterday the Taliban entered without permission and asked the director to send all the letters to the Ministry of Education. girls at home and closed the establishment. She started crying. “
Nakisa told Amnesty International that high school girls bravely protested this change of face and were victims of violence at the hands of the Taliban. “It simply came to our notice then […] We showed our pens to the Taliban and told them we were entitled to an education. We kept singing “We Want to Learn.” They started insulting us and pushing us to stop. They also threatened the school principal to urge us to protest. It was heartbreaking to see how these extremists disrespected the principal of our school. »
The courage of these girls and women, who continue to demonstrate to claim their right to an education and a better future, brings us back to reality. They are fighting for hope, and the international community must not abandon them at this critical time.
“The courage of these girls and women, who continue to demonstrate to claim their right to an education and a better future, brings us back to reality. They are fighting for hope, and the international community must not abandon them at this critical time, “said Yamini Mishra.
Nawida Khorasani, a women’s rights activist, called on the international community to remind the Taliban of the guarantees they have given for women’s rights. “The latest action by the Taliban is a clear violation of their commitments to women’s rights, and the international community must hold them accountable. »
It seems that the Taliban are slowly and gradually returning to their repressive policies of the 1990s, when all girls ’schools were banned and women could not speak in public.
“The right to education is a fundamental human right than the Taliban, as an authority de facto “They are obliged to respect,” said Yamini Mishra. “The current policies of the Taliban are discriminatory, unfair and contrary to international law.”