EU Condemns Taliban’s Further Restrictions on Education for Women
The European Council has issued a statement in response to the latest move by the Taliban in denying women in Afghanistan their right to education. On December 20th, the Taliban banned women from universities in what the EU describes as another violation of international obligations and one which constitutes an institutionalised, systematic discrimination against women and girls.
According to the statement, having assumed de facto control over the country, the Taliban have an obligation to ensure the protection and fulfilment of the Social, Economic, Cultural, Civil and Political Rights protected under international treaties and conventions to which Afghanistan is a State Party. This includes ensuring quality education is available and accessible for all without discrimination.
It says every child should have access to both primary and secondary education without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child’s religion, sex, ethnic or social origin, disability, or any other status. Access to higher education +should also be provided without any form of discrimination.
The Taliban returned to power in Kabul in August 2021, and initially committed to honouring human rights obligations, including those of women and promising greater freedom for women than was experienced during its previous time in power.
These promises were soon backtracked on with the introduction of gender segregation in university classrooms, the introduction of the compulsory hijab, and the promise to reopen secondary schools for girls failing to materialise.
In May of this year, women were ordered to fully cover themselves in public, including their faces, and advised to stay at home, while being banned from inter-city travel without being accompanied by a male escort.
The latest move to further abolish women’s rights came as armed guards gathered at universities to stop women entering.
The statement from the European Council references the Rome Statute saying that gender persecution may amount to a crime against humanity according to the Statute, to which Afghanistan is a State Party.
It describes the recent measures by the Taliban in conjunction with all previous cumulative measures restricting fundamental rights of women and girls in Afghanistan as extremely concerning and seeming to be a systematic policy and says the denial of the right to education for Afghan women and girls is first and foremost a violation of their rights.
It says the EU expects from the Taliban to abide by their obligations, revert their decision, and ensure universal access to quality education throughout the country.