GENEVA (January 23, 2023) – 130 million girls worldwide are denied the human right to education, UN experts said today, calling on states to step up their efforts to realize this fundamental human right. Ahead of International Day of Education, experts released the following statement:
“The world is failing 130 million girls deprived of the human right to education – a fundamental, transformative and empowering right for every human being.
Universal access to quality education enables individuals, communities, countries and the world to build well-being and prosperity for all. All states are committed to realizing the right to education for all, but less than half of the countries in the world have achieved gender parity in primary education. Denying girls and other vulnerable groups their basic right to education is discrimination at its most debilitating. It impoverishes our world by depriving us of the creativity, ingenuity and contributions of more than half of humanity.
Today, our hearts go out especially to the women and girls of Afghanistan, as it is the only country in the world that prohibits education beyond the primary level for women and girls. We condemn the discriminatory policies of the de facto Afghan authorities who have barred women and girls from secondary schools, universities and other centers of learning, and reiterate our call on the authorities to urgently end these illegal restrictions. They constitute abuses that not only harm women and girls, but also seriously damage the country and its future. We urge the international community to do everything in its power to reverse these policies.
Education is a lifelong learning process that actively contributes to building just, peaceful and sustainable societies.
On this International Day of Education, we call on all States to take concrete action to rectify gender and other disparities that prevent the enjoyment of this fundamental right for all.
Experts: Ms. Farida Shaheed took office as Special Rapporteur on the right to education on August 1, 2022 following his appointment by the Human Rights Council. She is the executive director of Pakistan’s leading women’s justice organization, Shirkat Gah – Women’s Resource Centre. She was also a member of the Pakistan National Commission on the Status of Women and the first special rapporteur in the field of cultural rights from 2009 to 2015.
Mr. Richard Bennett is the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan. He officially took office on May 1, 2022. He has served in Afghanistan several times in various capacities, including as the head of the human rights branch of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) .
Ms. Dorothy Estrada-Tanck (Chair), Mrs. Elizabeth Broderick, Ms. Ivana Radačić (Vice-President), Ms. Meskerem Geset Techane and Ms. Melissa Upreti, Working Group on Discrimination against Women and Girls. The UN Working Group on Discrimination against Women and Girls was established by the Human Rights Council in 2010 to step up efforts to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women and girls. women and girls around the world in collaboration with all relevant stakeholders. The working group is composed of the five independent experts mentioned above.
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