World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Burning of girls' schools in Afghanistan condemned

UN envoy condemns burning of girls' schools in Afghanistan

As Afghanistan prepares to commemorate International Women's Day, the senior United Nations envoy to the country today deplored recent violence against girls' schools – institutions that were banned under the fallen Taliban regime.

“The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, Jean Arnault, condemns the despicable attacks on girls' schools that took place on 2 March in Farah and 19 February in Badakshan,” spokesman Manoel de Almeida e Silva told reporters in Kabul. “Fortunately there were no casualties, but the attacks by unidentified persons caused damage to school buildings, tents and educational materials.”

The spokesman said the “cowardly” violence was aimed at thwarting reconstruction and development in Afghanistan against the wishes of the country's people. “The overwhelming the majority of Afghans want their children – both boys and girls – to be educated,” he said.

“The mere fact that these communities have rallied around to save their schools and condemn these and similar offences in the past should send a strong message to the perpetrators that their misguided actions are obviously not deterring the desire for education amongst ordinary people,” the spokesman added.

During the burning, one school tent in Bala Bluk district in Farah Province was completely destroyed while the local community managed to extinguish fires in three others. The Farah incident followed an arson attack on 19 February against another girls' school in Badakshan when the main building of Shah Ba Ba Girl's High School was set on fire. Forty per cent of that school was damaged, while classroom materials were destroyed.

Mr. de Almeida e Silva hailed efforts by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) to provide replacements for the property lost in the attacks, and pointed out that gender-based violence against schools is not widespread, with fewer than 30 incidents reported out of 7,000 education centres.

Edward Carwardine, a spokesman for UNICEF, reported that more than 45,000 children – over 80 per cent of them girls – have benefited from special accelerated learning classes organized during the winter school vacation.

The drive, backed by UNICEF, took place in five Afghan provinces over the last three months, providing students who missed out on learning with rapid “catch-up” classes to help them join the correct grade when the new academic term begins on 22 March.

“The programme is especially important for girls, many of whom missed up to seven years of schooling during the Taliban era, and in many cases have had to enrol in classes lower than other children of the same age,” Mr. Carwardine said.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news