Afghan schoolgirls ban on public singing criticized | Women’s rights news

The education ministry said female students over the age of 12 will not be allowed to sing at ceremonies unless it is an all-female event.

Afghanistan-based rights group condemned authorities’ decision to ban schoolgirls to sing at public events, saying they should “not promote gender discrimination.”

Afghan Ministry of Education said in a letter, leaked to media on Wednesday, that female students over the age of 12 would no longer be allowed to sing in public ceremonies unless the event in question was exclusively female. He also indicated that female students would not be taught by male music teachers.

“Education, freedom of expression and access to artistic skills are the fundamental rights of all children, regardless of their age or gender. Children, girls and boys can exercise their rights equally and freely under the law, ”said the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) in a statement. declaration on Twitter.

Education ministry spokesperson Najiba Arian confirmed the ban to local media outlet TOLONews, saying the ruling applied to all 34 provinces in the country.

She added that “the decision was made following complaints from families about the heavy burden of education on the shoulders of high school and college students.”

However, the ministry did not explain why the ban only applied to girls or why exclusively female events were exempt.

The AIHRC statement added that the education ministry should support the freedom, equality and protection of children and “not promote gender discrimination.”

Schoolchildren in Afghanistan often sing at ceremonies or official events.

Ahmad Naser Sarmast, founder and director of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music also condemned the ban, saying the move was a “flagrant violation of national and international laws and laws in the areas of basic human rights, human rights and human rights. of the child, women’s rights, musical rights, and the universal right to freedom of expression ”.

“The Afghan National Institute of Music … openly calls on supporters and members of the Afghan and international community to join us in solidarity so that the young women and women of Afghanistan, in music and in voice, are never again silenced, ”he said in a statement Thursday.

Under the Taliban between 1996 and 2001, singing and listening to music and writing poems or songs were strictly prohibited by the armed group.

Since the overthrow of the Taliban in an invasion by US-led forces, Afghan women have acquired a number of rights they fear eroded as the Afghan government attempts to negotiate a peace deal with the armed group, which fought the government and foreign forces for 20 years.

Last year, the education ministry faced a backlash for decreeing that students receive all lessons during their first three years of schooling in mosques to help inject an “Islamic spirit” into students. .

The decision was overturned.

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