South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR), a regional network of Human Rights Defenders, vehemently condemns the decision of the Taliban to ban women from attending universities. On 20 December 2022, the Ministry of Higher Education of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan released a statement signed by Sheik Neda Mohammed Nadim, the Minister of Higher Education, ordering all public and private universities to immediately suspend women from attending the universities until further notice.
SAHR has observed the Taliban systematically depriving women and girl children of their rights and freedoms including their right to mobility and right to education since the Taliban took over the governance of Afghanistan in August 2021. The suspension of university attendance is a flagrant violation of a basic right which promotes human beings to achieve their fullest capacity and attain the highest standard of a dignified life. Due to this impudent decision of the Taliban, SAHR is concerned on the irrevocable multifaceted damages that would be inflicted upon the women and girls as well as the whole population of the country in the years to come.
The Taliban seem to be retracting their promises and pledges made to the world when they took over the administration of Afghanistan while their legitimacy has still not been recognised at global level. In turn this situation has impacted quite negatively on the people of Afghanistan who are striving to survive while facing multiple crises at many levels.
Therefore, SAHR firmly urges the Taliban to rescind their ban on women attending the universities immediately and provide the girls with secondary education as well. Islam recognises education as a right and duty of every individual in a Muslim society. Further, Afghanistan is a state party to the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and therefore, it is internationally obliged to preserve rights and freedoms of the people enshrined in the constitution. SAHR, therefore, firmly reiterates that all citizens and particularly women in Afghanistan should not be deprived of their basic human rights and fundamental freedoms.
On behalf of the SAHR membership
Dr. Roshmi Goswami
Dr. P. Saravanamuttu