Girls in Afghanistan have been out of school for 300 days. To protect their futures, Afghan human rights defenders and Malala Fund Education Champions demand that world leaders demonstrate solidarity through action — not just words.
Dear global leaders,
Girls in Afghanistan have been out of school for 300 days. The longer the Taliban’s ban on girls’ education continues, the more their hopes for the future fade. As a network of Afghan educators and advocates, we ask that you stand up for Afghan girls. Educated, empowered young women can make our world safer and stronger — but for that to happen you must take bold and urgent action today to secure their futures.
The action we’re calling for is more than a statement of solidarity or a moment of silence. Well-intentioned as these steps might be, it does not hold the Taliban accountable for their violation of Afghan girls’ and women’s rights. International leaders must apply diplomatic pressure on the de-facto authorities in Afghanistan and ensure the immediate reopening of girls’ schools in Afghanistan.
In the past 20 years, millions of Afghan women and girls received an education. Global leaders — in partnership with Afghan institutions and grassroots organisations — have made regional and international commitments to realise the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Now, it is time to live up to those commitments. As leaders who believe in equality, justice and human rights — you have a moral obligation to stand alongside the hundreds of thousands of Afghan girls and their families calling for the reopening of schools and for the immediate and full restoration of their social, political and cultural rights.
To global leaders, regional allies and international organisations: we urge you to take coordinated and bold action. Ahead of the U.N. General Assembly in September, we ask for three concrete actions to protect Afghan girls’ and women’s human rights:
Increase pressure on the de-facto authorities in Afghanistan to lift the ban on girls' right to secondary education and women's right to work and ensure their safe return to schools and work.
Provide immediate financial support to the education system in Afghanistan, and target funding to Afghan women’s rights organisations and civil society organisations providing alternative education mechanisms for girls.
Show solidarity to Afghan activists calling for the Islamic imperative to education, partner with them and give them platforms to share their demands for the future of Afghanistan.
No society can advance if girls and women are not guaranteed equal rights or cannot freely express their interests and perspectives. The world cannot achieve the SDGs without Afghanistan. If the world is truly to achieve its SDGs agenda by 2030, the international community must affirm its commitment to the people of Afghanistan.
Assem Chreif - Lebanese Organization for Studies and Training (LOST), Lebanon
Dr. Manzoor Ahmed - Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE), Bangladesh
Enayat Nasir - Aid Afghanistan for Education (AAE), Afghanistan
Hiba Hamzi - Developmental Action Without Borders - Naba’a, Lebanon
Murshed Alam Sarker - Peoples Oriented Program Implementation (POPI), Bangladesh
Zarqa Yaftali - Women & Children Research Foundation (WCLRF), Afghanistan
Jan Mohammad Ahmadian, Education Advocate & Civil Society Activist, Afghanistan
Sayed Abdullah Ahmadi, Afghanistan Democracy and Development Organization (ADDO), Afghanistan