International community collectively slams Taliban’s decision to ban women from university

Foreign governments have collectively condemned the Taliban’s decision to ban women from universities and girls from school, and have said the group’s policies “designed to erase women from public life” will have consequences for how the international community engages with the Taliban.

In a statement issued on Wednesday night, the Foreign Ministers of Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States and the High Representative of the European Union also strongly condemned “the restrictions on the ability of women and girls in Afghanistan to exercise their human rights and fundamental freedoms”.

“The Taliban’s oppressive measures against Afghan girls and women have been relentless and systemic,” the statement read adding that over the past 16 months, the Taliban has issued no fewer than 16 decrees and edicts that, among other things, constrain women’s mobility, remove women from places of work, require head-to-toe coverings for women, ban women from using public spaces such as parks and gyms and leave widows and women-headed households in dire circumstances by the requirement of male guardianship.

“These policies make clear the Taliban’s disregard for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the people of Afghanistan.

“Afghan women’s ingenuity and dynamism are needed urgently to help relieve profound and staggering economic and humanitarian needs. A stable, economically viable, and peaceful Afghanistan is only attainable and sustainable if all Afghans, including women and girls, can fully, equally, and meaningfully participate in and contribute to the country’s future and development,” the statement read.

In addition, the collection of countries said they “stand with all Afghans in their demand to exercise their human rights consistent with Afghanistan’s obligations under international law. With these moves, the Taliban are further isolating themselves from the Afghan population and the international community. We urge the Taliban to immediately abandon the new oppressive measures with respect to university education for women and girls and to, without delay, reverse the existing decision to prohibit girls’ access to secondary school.”

In conclusion, the statement noted that “Taliban policies designed to erase women from public life will have consequences for how our countries engage with the Taliban. Our foremost concern will continue to be the welfare, rights, and freedoms of the people of Afghanistan”.

Widespread condemnation

This statement was one of many issued in the past two days following the Taliban’s decision to ban women from attending university.

Among the countries that slammed the move have been numerous Islamic nations including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Pakistan, the UAE, Indonesia and numerous organizations including the United Nations, and he Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) among others.

Turkey on Thursday also condemned the move. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said his country rejects and is “saddened” by the new ban on higher education for women in Afghanistan.

“This prohibition is neither Islamic nor humanistic. We reject such a ban,” Cavusoglu said at a news conference with his Yemeni counterpart Ahmed Awad BinMubarak in the capital Ankara.

“What harm does women’s education do to Afghanistan, and what is the benefit of this ban? … Our religion Islam is not against education, on the contrary, it supports education.

“We expect the Taliban to abandon this decision. Türkiye will continue to provide education and scholarships to our Afghan sisters,” Cavusoglu added.