AI calls on Taliban to reopen schools for Afghan girls

Kabul, Oct 14 (EFE).- The Taliban must “allow girls to return to school immediately,” Amnesty International said Wednesday in a new report.

Since returning to power in August, the Islamist militant group has imposed a strict interpretation of Sharia law, including banning girls from attending secondary school.

“At present, girls in Afghanistan are effectively barred from returning to secondary school. Across the country, the rights and aspirations of an entire generation of girls are dismissed and crushed,” said Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, in the report, calling it a “discriminatory, unjust” decision that violates international law.

“The Taliban should immediately re-open all secondary schools to girls, put a stop to all harassment, threats and attacks against teachers and students, and cease any military use of schools in Afghanistan” she said, calling on the international community to ensure appropriate funding for Afghanistan’s education sector.

On Sept. 18, the Taliban opened school doors for boys throughout the country but ordered girls above grade six to remain at home until further notice. The ban remains in place almost a month later.

“As a school principal, I have had to turn off my phone for the past more than a week, because I have no answer to my young female students as to why they and their teachers are barred from school or when they will be able resume their classes,” Tahiri, a female principal in western Herat province, told Efe.

“This ban on girls has no good consequences; it injected fear into the heart of every girl of this country — killed their morale and shattered their hopes for the future,” she said, lamenting the lack of support she feels the country’s women and girls have received from the international community.

“We hear nothing from them, no action from them to solve our problems,” she said. “We are left alone.”

The Taliban’s misogynistic attitude is forcing every qualified and educated woman “to leave this country and flee”, she says, adding that a number of qualified teachers have already left or have abandoned plans to continue teaching.

Although some secondary schools for girls have been reopened in at least three of the 34 Afghan provinces in northern Afghanistan, including in the provinces of Sar-e-Pol, Balkh and Kunduz, most of the secondary schools in the rest of the country remained closed.

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