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Afghanistan: UN repeats call for Taliban to allow girls full access to school

Sunday marks one year since girls were banned from attending high school in Afghanistan.

Markus Potzel, acting head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), described the anniversary on Sunday as “a tragic, shameful, and entirely avoidable” development.
Echoing Mr. Guterrres’s call, the UN Mission there repeated its demand for the ban to be overturned immediately.
The Afghan expert and veteran diplomat – who recently served as Ambassador of Germany to Afghanistan – insisted that the onus was on the Taliban “to create favourable conditions for peace, inclusion, security, human rights and economic recovery”.

A lost generation

Girls belong in school. The Taliban must let them back in.
He added that the decision – taken soon after Taliban fighters rapidly overran Kabul last August – had been “profoundly damaging to a generation of girls and to the future of Afghanistan”.
“The UN yet again calls upon the Taliban to reverse the slew of measures they have introduced restricting Afghan women and girls’ enjoyment of their basic rights and freedoms,” said Mr. Potzel, who is also the UN Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan.

Window of opportunity narrowing

And he added that the international community “remains ready” to support a government represented “all its people and respects their rights”.
A year of lost knowledge and opportunity that they will never get back.
The ongoing exclusion of girls from secondary school classes “has no credible justification and has no parallel anywhere in the world,” Mr. Potzel said.
The window of opportunity may be narrowing, but we urge them to take concrete steps – such as actively enabling girls to return to high school – that can lift Afghanistan up and give hope to its people.”


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