Call to action: Education for Afghan girls

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Plan International is disturbed by the news that many girls are not being allowed return to school in Afghanistan.

We have endorsed the call to action of the International Parliamentary Network For Education, calling for the education of Afghanistan's children and young people.

Afghan girl in school
Afghan girl in school. Source: Fat Camera

“As schools reopen in Afghanistan, Plan International is disturbed by the news that many girls are not being allowed to return to secondary school.

Protecting and advancing the right of girls to go to school is essential and we call on all actors to ensure that every girl in Afghanistan, especially adolescent girls, can attend school.

For girls who have experienced a lifetime of conflict and upheaval, school provides a protective space and a sense of normality. Education provides a passport for a positive future, take it away from girls and you shatter their hopes and aspirations.

Unless all Afghan children, girls and boys, return to school then the progress in education that we have witnessed over the past two decades will be wiped out.

We cannot let another generation lose their right to learn and the opportunity to develop the skills they need to fulfil their potential and to contribute to society.

This latest development comes in the context of a rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation where over a million children are now at risk of starvation and where nearly ten million girls and boys depend on humanitarian assistance.”

Supporting the education of Afghanistan’s children and young people: A call to action

Sharing from the International Parliamentary Network website; see original page & a list of all signatories here.

Following the Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan, we have grave concerns for the human rights of Afghan citizens, especially women, girls, people with disabilities, and ethnic and religious minorities. 

We are particularly concerned about the right to education.

Whilst the international community must ensure the re-establishment of the conditions that guarantee the full rule of law and the respect of human rights and that those in power in Afghanistan respect the right to education, permission to operate and attend educational facilities alone will not be enough. The fundamental freedoms of women, girls, and minority and ethnic groups must be respected and protected by all parties, including their freedoms of movement, opinion, expression, and identity.

Protecting the right to education of Afghanistan’s population will require a significant increase in coordinated international support.

Supportive of the effort by Italy, acting as G20 president, to develop a common international strategy in response to the crisis in Afghanistan, we urge G20 member states to ensure the strategy includes a plan for education and lifelong learning for all.

That plan should be based on five commitments:

  • Ensuring the right to education and lifelong learning for all, based on the standards set by international human rights law.
  • Increasing humanitarian and development assistance, provided to the UN, international agencies, national organizations and communities, to ensure formal schools, community-based education programs, colleges, and universities with students of all genders, abilities, and backgrounds continue to operate and provide quality, inclusive education.
  • Providing support to host countries for the education of both existing and newly arriving refugee children and youth.
  • Increasing funding for tertiary study overseas, especially for women and people with disabilities.
  • Ensuring that a fundamental condition of any working relationship with the regime is that it upholds the right to education.

We urge the governments of the G20 to commission the relevant UN agencies to develop, fund, and implement a plan to protect and promote education for Afghan children, especially girls and people with disabilities, both in Afghanistan and those who have fled their country seeking protection. It is critical to ensure full participation and consultation of teachers, education support professionals, parents, and learners themselves in developing a comprehensive education plan.