Female foreign ministers urge Taliban on girls’ education
“As women and foreign ministers, we are deeply disappointed and concerned that girls in Afghanistan are being denied access to secondary schools this spring,” said the foreign ministers of Albania, Andorra, Australia, Belgium, Bosnia, Canada, Estonia, Germany, Iceland. , Kosovo, Malawi, Mongolia, New Zealand, Sweden, Tonga and Britain said in a joint statement.
They said the decision “is particularly worrying because we have repeatedly heard their commitments to open all schools to all children”.
“We call on the Taliban to reverse their recent decision and grant equal access to all levels of education, in all provinces of the country,” they added.
At UN headquarters in New York, the Security Council held a closed-door discussion on the issue. Before it started, ambassadors from Albania, Britain, Brazil, France, Gabon, Ireland, Mexico, Norway, the United States and the United Arab Emirates united to denounce the decision of the Taliban.
“This is a deeply troubling setback,” said Emirati Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh, the current chairwoman of the council, as she read a joint statement.
The world has been reluctant to officially recognize Afghanistan’s new rulers, fearing that the Taliban will impose similar harsh measures and restrictions – particularly limiting women’s rights to education and work – as when they ruled the country in the late 1990s.
Foreign ministers said they were “monitoring closely whether the Taliban kept their promises”.
“We will measure them by their actions, not their words,” they said. “The scope and extent of our countries’ engagement in Afghanistan beyond humanitarian assistance will be tied to their achievements in this regard.”
They said access to education is a human right to which every girl and woman is entitled, and that “no country can afford not to tap into the potential and talent of all its people.”