Afghanistan forms committee to reopen girls’ secondary schools

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The Islamic authorities in Afghanistan have said they have formed a committee of eight members to facilitate the reopening of girls’ schools.

The committee will be chaired by the Supreme Judge, Abdul Hakim Haqqani, according to Inamullah Samangani, deputy spokesman for the Islamic Emirate.

“This committee has eight members. It includes clerics and scholars. The committee has done some work to reopen the girls’ high schools. We hope it can be solved in the near future,” he said.

Most female students above grade six have been banned from going to school for more than 250 days, although primary and university education for females have remained available.

The IEA has been heavily criticised from outside and within Afghanistan for the delay in reopening girls’ secondary schools.

Samangani’s statement came a few days after acting Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani, also pledged that schools would soon reopen.

He told CNN: “There is no one here who opposes education for women, and girls up to grade 6 are already allowed to go to school.”

He said that “the work is continuing on a mechanism” to allow girls above grade 6 back to school. ”Very soon you will hear very good news about this issue,” the minister added. Haqqani indicated reopening of girls’ schools depends on dress codes.

“We must establish the conditions so that we can ensure their honour and security. We are acting to ensure this,” he said, adding that education should be based on Afghan “culture” and “Islamic rules and principles.”

Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has reacted to remarks by the UN Security Council that women’s rights are being violated and said in a statement the comments were “unfounded.”

The statement comes after Tuesday’s request by the UNSC for the IEA to “swiftly reverse” policies and practices that are restricting the human rights and freedoms of Afghan women and girls.

The 15-member council expressed “deep concern regarding the increasing erosion of respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of women and girls in Afghanistan by the Taliban (IEA).”

This came after the IEA ordered women to cover their faces in public. They also asked television broadcasters to ensure that female presenters on local stations cover their faces when on air.

“Since the people of Afghanistan are predominantly Muslim, the Afghan government considers the observance of Islamic hijab to be in line with the religious and cultural practices of society and aspirations of majority of Afghan women, and stresses that nothing has been imposed on the Afghan people that runs counter to the religious and cultural beliefs of the Islamic society,” the IAE statement read.

“Whilst the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan respects freedom of religion of people and believes in resolving problems through dialogue, it also expects world countries to discern objective realities of Afghan society, show respect towards the religious and cultural values of the Afghan people and not pass verdicts based on malicious and antagonist reporting of some media outlets or propaganda by opposition to the Islamic Emirate.”

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