Social Issues

Taliban set up committee to reopen Afghan girl schools

Kabul, May 27 (EFE).- The de facto Taliban government has formed a nine-member committee to facilitate the reopening of secondary schools for Afghan girls that have remained shut for nearly 10 months of the Islamist rule.

The decision to form the panel on formulating rules and regulations regarding schools for girls between 12 and 18 years coincided with the visit of Richard Bennett, the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Afghanistan on human rights.

“The committee led by Supreme Court judge Abdul Hakim Haqqani has already started working on reopening schools,” a Taliban official told EFE on the condition of anonymity.

Girl students above Class 6 have not been to school since the Taliban seized power in Kabul on Aug.15 last year even as primary schools for female students have been allowed.

Education and employment rights of women have always been one of the main demands of the international community to recognize the Taliban rule in Afghanistan.

The Taliban announced that they would allow girls above Class 6 to return to schools on Mar.23, the first day of the school year in Afghanistan after the winter break on a condition that classrooms would be segregated on a gender basis and only female teachers would instruct them.

However, the Islamist regime reneged on its promise and barred Class 7 to 12 girls from attending schools, pending a decision on their uniform designs according to Islamic law.

The formation of the committee was announced on the same day UN rights expert Bennet concluded his 11-day assessment trip to Afghanistan.

Bennett Thursday said the war-battered country faced grave human rights challenges and urged the de facto Taliban government “to close the gap between their words and their deeds.”

He particularly mentioned that the “advancing erasure of women from public life is especially concerning.”

Bennet said the Taliban diktats on females “fit the pattern of absolute gender segregation…aimed at making women invisible in society.”

He cited the suspension of secondary education for girls, severe barriers to employment, no opportunities to participate in political and public life, limits on freedom of movement, association, and expression, directives on mahram (male family member chaperone), enforcing a strict form of Hijab and advice to stay at home.

Bennet called on the Taliban to immediately reverse policies and directives that negatively impact women.

The Taliban came to power with a series of promises of change.

During their first stay in power between 1996 and 2001, the Islamists followed a rigid interpretation of Islam that led them to ban female education and confine women to their homes. EFE


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