United Nations – Afterof attempted talks with the Taliban aimed at lifting its bans on secondary and university education and work for women in Afghanistan, the U.N. is proposing a plan to pressure Afghanistan and incentivize the Taliban to reverse course.
Over 2.5 million girls and young women are, a number that will increase to 3 million in a few months.
Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the U.N.'s envoy for global education, announced a five-point plan on Tuesday that includes bringing the issue to the attention of the International Criminal Court.
Brown said that he has submitted a legal opinion to ICC prosecutor Karim Khan asking him to open an investigation into the denial of education to girls. Brown also asked the court to consider the Taliban's repression of women's rights to education and employment as a crime against humanity.
"The denial of education to Afghan girls and the restrictions on employment of Afghan women is gender discrimination, which should count as a crime against humanity and should be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court," Brown said.
The ICC'shas set a for cases to be brought before the court on behalf of children, Brown argued.
"The international community must show that education can get through to the people of Afghanistan in spite of the Afghan government's bans, and thus, we will sponsor and fund internet learning," Brown said, adding, "We will support underground schools, as well as support education for girls who are forced to leave Afghanistan and need our help to go to school."
The five-point plan includes the mobilization of Education Cannot Wait, a U.N. emergency education fund, which on Tuesday launched a campaign called "Afghan Girls' Voices," in collaboration with Somaya Faruqi, former captain of the Afghan Girls' Robotic Team.
The plan also asks for visits by delegations from Muslim-majority countries to Kandahar, and to offer the Taliban-led government funding to finance girls' return to school, which would match funding provided between 2011 and 2021 as long as girls' rights would be upheld and the education would not be indoctrination.
"We have to think about the safety of girls," Brown said, adding that there is a split among Taliban leadership aboutand that the U.N. has detected "some possibility of progress."
"But until we can persuade not just the government itself, but the clerics, that something must change, we will still have this terrible situation where this is the worst example of the abuse of human rights against girls and women around the world."
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