Donors must convince Taliban to respect women, says HRW

Kabul, Mar 21 (EFE).- The nonprofit Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Monday that reopening schools for girls in Afghanistan was not enough to ensure quality education, and urged donors to convince the Taliban to respect women’s rights.

“Access to education is about much more than whether the gate in front of the school is unlocked. (…) Donors need to find ways to induce the Taliban to respect the rights of girls and women to education,” HRW associate women’s rights director Heather Barr said in a statement accompanying the report “Four Ways to Support Girls’ Access to Education in Afghanistan.”

In the document, the rights watchdog denounced the “numerous barriers” faced by Afghan girls on a daily basis, in addition to “surveillance, and intimidation from the Taliban within schools, a lack of teachers.”

In this regard, HRW called on international donors not to grant aid in “areas where the authorities are restricting women and girls from going to school and obtaining a livelihood.”

Instead, it recommended that donors, the main source of funding for the Afghan education system, examine the situation of schools and provinces one by one, and support only those where girls have already been accepted into classes.

He also called for supporting activists and communities fighting to secure everyone’s right to education, focusing on community education classes, which serve both genders alike.

The statement comes after the Taliban government announced the reopening on Wednesday of schools in Afghanistan after the winter break.

This reopening will also include the resumption of schools for girls, who had been excluded from secondary education since the Islamists seized power in August last year.

HRW has criticized the Taliban’s policies on education as inconsistent which deprived women of any access to it, while creating an environment that was not conducive for their studies.

Although girls had access to primary education, it was not the same for secondary schools and higher education, from which they were barred.

However, last month the Islamists took their first steps toward ntegrating women into the education system with the reopening of universities, while also allowing access to female students but with timings different from that of men. EFE


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