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The Global Campaign for Education (GCE) Statement

A call for an immediate return to school for all girls and women in Afghanistan!

Through the Protect Education in Emergencies Now! GCE calls for the Afghan de facto authorities to ensure that girls and women have equal opportunities to fulfill their right to education in Afghanistan.

After several months of waiting for schools to be re-opened after the Taliban takeover in August last year, hundreds of thousands of schoolgirls and their families have seen their opportunities to resume their education frustrated. The Taliban backtracked on their previous announcement that high schools would open for girls on Wednesday 23 March 2022. The decision to keep schools closed for girls has been widely condemned by the United Nations (UN) and humanitarian organisations as a direct human rights violation that actively denies girls to empower themselves through equitable education. The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the Taliban as the de facto authorities to immediately reopen schools for all students[1]

GCE joins the voices of humanitarian organisations and in particular the voices of those hundreds of thousands of Afghan girls and their families calling for an immediate return to education for women and girls and for the immediate and full protection of their social, political, and cultural rights. As the statement by the UN Secretary-General clearly states, “The denial of education not only violates the equal rights of women and girls to education, it also jeopardises the country’s future in view of the tremendous contributions by Afghan women and girls”.

The existing and emerging gender barriers particularly faced by girls and women in Afghanistan are systematically disempowering. This includes multiple forms of physical and psychological violence, forced marriage, persecution and intimidation, lack of security protection, and being at risk to be punished when walking in the streets of their own country without a male companion. Women and girls are killed for publicly expressing their views and contesting the Taliban’s authority or simply for speaking out for their rights, which is inadmissible according to international human rights law.

GCE condemns all forms of violence, exclusion, and discrimination against girls, women, and their families in Afghanistan that have been happening before and after the Taliban take over. GCE calls on the support of civil society organisations and governments, to mobilise the call for immediate change in Afghanistan[2]. No society can advance where girls' and women’s rights are not fully guaranteed and in contexts where they cannot freely express their interests and views of the world.

GCE calls for schools for girls and women to be immediately re-opened and for the resumption of adolescent girls’ access to secondary education. GCE condemns all forms of violence and human rights abuses against girls and women in Afghanistan and reiterates its support to all of those girls, women, and their families advocating for their rights and the civil society and humanitarian organisations that support them.


[1] United Nations (2022). Secretary-General Regrets Suspension of Girls’ Education in Afghanistan, Urging Taliban De Facto Authorities to Open Schools for All Students. Retrieved from on March 24 2022

[2] Allen, J., and and Felbab-Brown, V. (2020). The fate of women’s rights in Afghanistan. The Brookings Gender Equality Series.

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The Global Campaign for Education (GCE) is a civil society movement that aims to end exclusion in education. Education is a basic human right, and our mission is to make sure that governments act now to deliver the right of everyone to a free, quality, public education.