The INTO expresses concern for educators and students in Afghanistan

Tuesday, 17 August 2021 

In light of the unfolding events in Afghanistan, the INTO expresses its concern for educators and students in the country and for continued equal access to education for all students. 

The INTO is committed to cultivating a spirit of fraternal co-operation with kindred organisations and articulates its full support to the National Teachers Elected Council of Afghanistan (NTEC) and the Afghanistan Teacher Support Association (ATSA). 

Schools are beacons of light in any country, where teachers work passionately to enable students to flourish and reach their full potential. Schools foster tolerance, empathy, and respect. They facilitate environments that drive progress, innovation, and development across the global community. School communities are the cornerstone of humanity’s optimistic future. 

Schools must never be targeted by terrorism, oppression, or authoritarianism. 

Shamefully, in zones of conflict, the global education community has endured multiple attacks including the bombing of schools, illegal detention, the torture and assassination of teachers and union officials and sexual assault by armed forces. 

The INTO advocates for the implementation of Education International’s Declaration on Schools as Safe Sanctuaries in Afghanistan. Launched in 2009, the declaration calls for the protection of students, teachers, education trade unionists, education officials, and education institutions in zones of conflict. 

The United Nations Security Council recently published its Children and Armed Conflict in Afghanistan report. The report offers a harrowing account of life in Afghanistan through a child’s eyes. The UN verified more than 6,470 grave violations against children during the reporting period, with nearly half attributed to the Taliban.  Some 297 attacks on schools and hospitals were verified. Armed groups were responsible for 93 attacks on schools and education personnel (70 per cent), which were attributed to the Taliban (78), ISIL-KP (8) and unidentified armed groups (7).

Human Rights violations against women and girls in Afghanistan have been widely documented including Taliban attacks on girls’ schools, acid attacks and sexual violence. 

The INTO abhors such attacks on children, women, dignity, equality and human rights. 

The United Nations Security Council states that:

a sustainable end to the conflict in Afghanistan can only be achieved through an inclusive, just, durable and realistic political settlement that upholds human rights, including for women, children and minorities.

The INTO supports this statement and calls on the international community to protect the people of Afghanistan, the education of girls and to safeguard their freedom and human rights.