Law students and lawyers in Afghanistan are filing reports with JURIST on the situation there after the Taliban takeover. Here, a female law graduate reports on the Taliban closure of Afghan universities to women. For privacy and security reasons, we are withholding our correspondent’s name. The text has only been lightly edited to respect the author’s voice.
On Tuesday, the terrorist and anti-academic Taliban stopped girls from going to universities by issuing a cruel ruling. The Taliban have turned Afghanistan into a place where in the age of science, knowledge, technology, progress, and modernity, girls do not go to school and university in this country. How horrible it is to even think about this, let alone being an Afghan girl who is banned from education.
Banning girls from education is an act against Islamic, national and international values.
According to the teachings of Islamic law, education is required for men and women. According to Article 43 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan: “Education is the right of all citizens of Afghanistan, which shall be offered up to the B.A. level in the state educational institutes free of charge by the state. To expand balanced education as well as to provide mandatory intermediate education throughout Afghanistan, the state shall design and implement effective programs and prepare the ground for teaching mother tongues in areas where they are spoken”. According to the Law on the Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW) article 5, subsection 19, the deprivation of the right to education, study and work is considered one of the examples of violence against women. And according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 26: “Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory….”.
The closure of universities for girls is causing an even more devastating impact on society and the future of Afghanistan. Women’s education and awareness lead to family awareness and in the same proportion that leads to social awareness. The goal of the Taliban in applying such restrictions is to systematically remove women from society in the first step and to keep the society ignorant in the next step because illegitimate governments like the Taliban government need to keep people ignorant in order to stay in power.
This cruel decree is a clear example of cruelty and misogyny. With this decree, Afghan women are witnessing the death of their dreams and their future is destroyed.
Another bad effect of banning girls from education is that forced marriages and child marriages will increase in Afghanistan. This issue can be viewed from two perspectives. Firstly, the economic situation of people and, secondly, the traditional norms of Afghanistan.
Firstly, with the systematic exclusion of women from society, the economic independence of women is lost. In this case, those families who are struggling with economic problems force their daughters to marry in order to support them.
Secondly, preventing women from education leads to the strengthening of the undesirable norms of Afghan society, as according to the wrong norms, when a girl grows up, she must get married. But the education of girls, especially in higher education, was a kind of combat against this wrong norm, as girls were fighting against this norm by going to universities and schools. They fought forced marriages by keeping themselves busy by studying. But now that girls are banned from education, these wrong norms will prevail again, and girls who can’t even study anymore must marry according to these norms. The level of unawareness will increase, and girls are not busy anymore with education so the combat is over and they must get married. Unfortunately, this is what we will be witnessing in the near future.
The root of all these problems is the lack of any rule of law in the country. There is no rule of law in the Taliban government. What happens every day are the decisions of the illegitimate government of the Taliban, not adhering to any relevant law. The people of Afghanistan are victims of this situation.