The announcement on 20 December by the Taliban to ban women from universities is another violation of international obligations and constitutes an institutionalised, systematic discrimination against women and girls.
Having assumed de facto control over the country, the Taliban have an obligation to ensure the protection and fulfilment of the Social, Economic, Cultural, Civil and Political Rights protected under international treaties and conventions to which Afghanistan is a State Party. This includes ensuring quality education is available and accessible for all without discrimination.
Every child should have access to both primary and secondary education without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child’s religion, sex, ethnic or social origin, disability, or any other status. Access to higher education +should also be provided without any form of discrimination.
Gender persecution may amount to a crime against humanity according to the Rome Statute, to which Afghanistan is a State Party. The recent measures by the Taliban in conjunction with all previous cumulative measures restricting fundamental rights of women and girls in
Afghanistan are extremely concerning and seem to be a systematic policy. ‘Intentional and severe deprivation of fundamental rights contrary to international law by reason of the identity of the group or collectivity’, “committed as a part of a widespread or systematic attack” are defined as crimes against humanity under Article 7 of the Rome Statute.
The denial of the right to education for Afghan women and girls is first and foremost a violation of their rights and it undermines their capacity to prosper and play a full and meaningful role in society.
Afghan women are essential for the prosperity and stability of the country. They contribute to the economy, provide employment by creating and leading their own businesses, provide services to the most in need and are productive members of their community. Afghan women play an important role in the development of Afghanistan and should be given an equal opportunity to do so: depriving girls and women of opportunities based on their sex is not only a violation of human rights and gender equality; it also deprives Afghanistan and its people of the contributions of women and girls to society.
The EU expects from the Taliban to abide by their obligations, revert their decision, and ensure universal access to quality education throughout the country.
The EU remains committed to the people of Afghanistan and continues to monitor the situation in the country with a view to providing the necessary assistance to the population in the best possible way.