GENEVA (AA) – The denial of girls’ education in Afghanistan is “manifestly discriminatory,” said a UN rights official on Tuesday, urging the interim Taliban government to open schools to girls at all levels.
“The denial of a secondary school education and of access to university is manifestly discriminatory, profoundly distressing for girls and women, along with their families and communities, and deeply damaging to the country as a whole,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights spokeswoman Marta Hurtado said at a UN bi-weekly press briefing.
“This week, girls in Afghanistan should have been starting another year in secondary school with hope and aspiration,” Hurtado said, noting that for the past year girls have not been allowed to attend grades 6 to 12.
“We urge the de facto authorities to open schools to girls at all levels, as well as universities,” she said.
Girls and women are left vulnerable to violence, poverty and exploitation when their right to an education is denied, she said and added that dis-empowering half of Afghanistan’s population is “counterproductive and unjust.”
“Structural discrimination such as this is also deeply damaging for the country’s prospects for future recovery and development,” she continued.
Recalling the Taliban pledge to all women and girls allowing them the right to education, she said: “Our Office urges that they honour this promise, without delay.”