Social Issues

Afghan rights body criticizes government’s ban on singing for schoolgirls

Kabul, Mar 11 (efe-epa).- The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission Thursday vehemently opposed the government decree that bars schoolgirls from singing at public events.

The “Taliban-like” order by the education ministry that allows girls to sing at women-only events has sparked outrage.

Zabihullah Farhang, a spokesperson for rights body, told EFE that restricting the rights and freedoms of children was against the international and Afghanistan laws, “particularly the national constitution and the law to protect the children.”

He said the right to education, freedom of expression, and access to artistic skills were fundamental to child growth, irrespective of age and gender.

Farhang said the commission expected the ministry to support freedom of expression and the right to equality and “not to promote gender discrimination.”

The ministry has justified the decree, saying it was to let girls in Class 10 and above “pursue their studies properly, particularly after the Covid-19 impact.”

“We decided to choose the singing group members from primary classes, because the students of the higher classes have more subjects and lessons to study,” Najiba Arian, a ministry spokeswoman, told EFE.

Arian said the ministry would issue a statement “in near future to somehow clarify the issue” since there was some misunderstanding.

The decision was widely condemned by social media users in Afghanistan, with many calling it the Talibanization of the society.

Fariah Saidi, a social media user, wrote: “To silence the voice of the Afghan women is the work of those” who are like the Taliban.”

“Why such a decision in a republic,” she asked.

Some government officials also did not support the decision.

“I am sure no decision will be taken to silence the voice of women in a republic system,” Shahussain Murtazawi, a senior adviser to President Ashraf Ghani, wrote on Twitter. EFE-EPA


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