UN Chief "deeply alarmed" by Taliban's ban on education for women

"The Secretary-General is deeply alarmed by news reports that the Taliban have suspended access to universities to women and girls," Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.
UN Secretary-General Antony Blinken
UN Secretary-General Antony BlinkenANI

NEW YORK [US]: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said he is "deeply alarmed" by Taliban's ban of women in universities. Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, said that Guterres has called on the Taliban to ensure equal access to education at all levels for women and girls.

"The Secretary-General is deeply alarmed by news reports that the Taliban have suspended access to universities to women and girls," Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.

"The Secretary-General reiterates that the denial of education not only violates the equal rights of women and girls but will have a devastating impact on the country's future. The Secretary-General urges the de facto authorities to ensure equal access to education at all levels for women and girls," he added.

The Taliban in a letter issued on Tuesday ordered the suspension of higher education for female students in Afghanistan, Tolo News reported.

In a press briefing, Stephane Dujarric said that the decision is another "broken promise" of the Taliban. He called it a "troubling move" and called it difficult to imagine how a country can develop without the active participation of women.

"It's clearly another broken promise from the Taliban. We have seen, since their takeover, also in the past months, just a lessening of the space for women not only in education but access to public areas, their non-participation in the public debate," Stephane Dujarric said. "It's very troubling move and it's difficult to imagine how a country can develop, can deal with all of the challenges that it has without the active participation of women and the education of women," he added.

Earlier, the United States condemned in "the strongest terms" the Taliban's decision to ban university education for Afghan women and to keep secondary schools closed for girls.

Addressing a press briefing on December 20 (local time), US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price called education an "internationally recognized human right" and warned that the Taliban's "unacceptable stance" will have consequences for them and further isolate the group from the international community.

"The United States condemns, in the strongest terms, the Taliban's indefensible decision to ban women from universities, to keep secondary schools closed to girls, and to continue to impose other restrictions on the ability of women and girls in Afghanistan to exercise their human rights and their fundamental freedoms," Ned Price said.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted, "Deeply dismayed by the announcement from the Taliban denying women the right to university education. Afghan women deserve better. Afghanistan deserves better. The Taliban have just definitively set back their objective of being accepted by the international community."

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