The Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have expressed deep concern over the Taliban’s recent decision to indefinitely extend the ban on allowing girls in seventh grade and above to attend school.
Girls’ schools were scheduled to reopen across Afghanistan after months of closure, but the Taliban announced that secondary schools and high schools for girls would remain closed until further notice. This decision was met with strong domestic and international reactions.
In a resolution adopted on Thursday, the European Parliament called for a reversal of these restrictions, while noting previous commitments by the Taliban that they would ensure access to education for all citizens.
MEPs deplored the steadily deteriorating situation of women and girls in Afghanistan since the Taliban’s return to power in 2021. Parliament condemned their persistent focus on erasing women and girls from public life and denying their most fundamental rights, including education, work, movement and healthcare.
“Amid a worsening human rights situation and following a recent decision, Afghan women are no longer allowed to travel distances of more than 45 miles (72 km) from their home without the accompaniment of a close male relative,” the MEPs said.
They praised the bravery of the girls and women who are taking part in street protests against these developments and the Taliban’s rule, and call on both the EU and its member states to increase their support for women’s rights’ activists in the country.
The European Parliament also emphasised that the EU delegation in Kabul, re-establishing a minimal presence on the ground for the purpose of coordinating humanitarian aid and monitoring the humanitarian situation, does not constitute recognition of the Taliban regime by the European Union.
The Taliban regime which took over Kabul in August last year has curtailed women’s rights and freedoms, with women largely excluded from the workforce due to the economic crisis and restrictions.
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