Amnesty International launches campaign for girls’ education in Afghanistan on World Education Day

The human rights organization has launched an online petition to rally support for girls’ education. The organization is urging education advocates and its global audience to sign the petition, aiming to broaden the campaign for the protection of girls’ education.

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Amnesty International has launched an online petition to rally support for girls’ education in Afghanistan in celebration of World Education Day on Jan. 24. Amnesty International emphasized that Afghan girls are still sharing their stories, expressing both heartbreak and hope, as the Taliban persists in violating their fundamental human right to education.

World Education Day is being observed at a time when girls in Afghanistan have been forcibly denied their most fundamental rights, marking the second consecutive year of such deprivation, impacting the lives of women and girls.

According to a United Nations report, millions of girls in Afghanistan have been denied access to secondary and higher education. This denial not only infringes upon girls’ right to education but also exposes them to gender-based violence, forced and early marriages, mental health issues, and ongoing vulnerability to abuse.

Embracing online learning
Since the Taliban extended their ban on female attendance at schools to include higher education in December 2022, internet-based course providers report a notable demand from Afghanistan for online courses in subjects such as English language, science, and business.

Despite the Taliban government’s ban on female education, tens of thousands of Afghan women and girls have managed to participate in online study programs offered by internet-based course providers, such as the University of the People.

The Taliban justifies the restrictions based on their conservative interpretation of Islamic law. According to UNICEF, the UN children’s fund, the ban has impacted over one million girls.

Despite the risks of discovery and challenges related to internet connectivity and power supplies, online learning has experienced a surge as a means to navigate the education restrictions. However, access to the internet remains limited and inconsistent across Afghanistan.

Irreversible damage
In a comprehensive 19-page document titled “‘Schools are Failing Boys Too’: The Taliban’s Impact on Boys’ Education in Afghanistan,” Human Rights Watch chronicles the repercussions of the Taliban’s governance since seizing control of the nation in August 2021, particularly on the educational landscape for Afghan boys.

The report illuminates various actions, such as the termination of female educators, an increased reliance on corporal punishment, and retrogressive changes to the academic curriculum. Despite the widespread attention directed at the Taliban’s restrictions on girls’ and women’s secondary and higher education, the substantial harm inflicted upon the education system for boys has been somewhat overlooked.

“The Taliban are causing irreversible damage to the Afghan education system for boys as well as girls,” said Sahar Fetrat, author of the report and assistant women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch.

Human Rights Watch engaged in remote interviews with 22 male students spanning grades 8 to 12, along with five parents of boys within the same grade range. These interviews took place in various provinces, including Kabul, Balkh, Herat, Farah, Parwan, Bamiyan, Nangarhar, and Daikundi, conducted between June and August 2022 and March and April 2023.

Nathan Yasis

Nathan Yasis

Nathan studied information technology and secondary education in college. He dabbled in and taught creative writing and research to high school students for three years before settling in as a digital journalist.

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Nathan Yasis

Nathan Yasis

Nathan studied information technology and secondary education in college. He dabbled in and taught creative writing and research to high school students for three years before settling in as a digital journalist.

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