OIC Executive Committee urges Afghan caretaker government to reverse decision depriving women of education

OIC Executive Committee urges Afghan caretaker government to reverse decision depriving women of education

Jeddah (UNA-OIC) – The extraordinary meeting of the Executive Committee of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation urged the Afghan de facto government to reverse its decision to deny Afghan girls the right to education.

The meeting, held on Wednesday (11 January 2023) at the headquarters of the OIC General Secretariat in Jeddah, comes to discuss the latest developments and the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan in response to a joint invitation from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the current Chairman of the Islamic Summit and Chairman of the Executive Committee, the Republic of Türkiye, and the Republic of the Gambia.

At the outset of the meeting, the Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the OIC, Dr. Saleh Hamad Al-Suhaibani, expressed the Kingdom’s astonishment and deep regret at the decision of the Afghan caretaker government to deny Afghan girls the right to education, stressing that the Kingdom calls for reversing this decision that induces surprise in all Islamic countries, as it contradicts giving Afghan women their legal rights.

 Al-Suhaibani stressed that depriving Afghan women of their legal rights may lead to the continuation of mass migrations of educated Afghan men and women, which may exacerbate humanitarian crises.

He also reiterated the Kingdom’s request to the Afghan caretaker government to enable Afghan women to have the right to education, which in turn contributes to supporting security, stability, development and prosperity for Afghanistan and its brotherly people, indicating that shariah texts that urge and encourage learning are applied to women and men alike.

In the speech, he referred to the fairness of our true Islamic religion and its honouring of women, under which they enjoyed their full rights, indicating that Islam makes education a firm right for women and even one of the civilized duties and necessities that should not be abandoned.

He confirmed that the Kingdom, under the directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and his Crown Prince, continues its commitment to support the relentless efforts of the OIC regarding Afghanistan.

“The Kingdom has initiated the implementation of many relevant resolutions issued by the Council of OIC Foreign Ministers during the extraordinary meeting on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, which was held at the invitation of the Kingdom and hosted by the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in December 2021,” Al-Suhaibani said.

Al-Suhaibani cited the most important resolutions regarding the situation in Afghanistan, including the resolution to support the Humanitarian Trust Fund for Afghanistan, which operates under the umbrella of the Islamic Development Bank and in coordination and cooperation with the OIC.

He explained that the Kingdom made a generous donation to the Fund of more than 110 million Saudi riyals, in addition to supporting the mission of the Special Envoy for Afghanistan and the OIC’s office in Kabul in accordance with the resolutions of the OIC Foreign Ministers Council at its forty-eighth session, which was held in Pakistan last March.

 He made clear that the Kingdom had earlier implemented many relief projects in Afghanistan through the King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Action, amounting to more than $260 million, and mobilized a humanitarian air and land bridge to Afghanistan, in addition to the generous support and donations provided over the past decades.

“All of this is a continuation of the Kingdom’s humanitarian and relief efforts and a manifestation of its march of solidarity towards the Islamic peoples, whose compass is difficult to determine due to its ubiquitous presence in all directions,” Al-Suhaibani added.

 He explained that the Kingdom’s humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan are guided by the desire to alleviate the suffering of the brotherly Afghan people and reduce the risks of deterioration of the critical humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, which may affect regional and international peace and stability.

Al-Suhaibani expressed the Kingdom’s aspirations for the integration of efforts in this regard and its encouragement to all initiatives offered by member states and regional and international organizations to contribute to this Afghanistan trust fund and to provide more support and assistance to the brotherly Afghan people, especially in light of the difficult humanitarian conditions they are going through currently.

He stressed that the Kingdom appreciates the generous support provided by some member states to this trust fund, which confirms our agreement that providing relief support and the speed of the humanitarian response to the Afghan people is something that we must adhere to in order to avoid any severe humanitarian disasters that bring suffering and pain to this brotherly people.

For his part, the OIC Secretary-General, Hissein Brahim Taha, confirmed that the General Secretariat is seeking, in coordination with the International Islamic Fiqh Academy, to send a second team of scholars to Afghanistan to continue the dialogue with the de facto authority on depriving Afghan girls and women of their fundamental rights to education, employment and social justice, which constitute a significant priority for the Islamic world.

In his speech, the Secretary-General stressed that the OIC has been following the developments of the unfortunate events in Afghanistan with deep concern.

“We conveyed, through my special envoy, messages to the de facto authority in which we emphasized the importance of the government’s fulfilment of its previous promises to open schools for girls in light of the solid and clear foundations in the Islamic religion, which encourage this, and that resolving this issue will open the door wide for more constructive cooperation between the government and member states as well as openness to the world,” the Secretary-General said.

Concerning the decision of the de facto authority in Afghanistan to suspend the work of female employees in national and international non-governmental organizations, the Secretary-General stressed that this would affect the humanitarian and relief operations carried out by a vast network of non-governmental organizations and harm the interests of the Afghan people. 

In this context, Hissein Taha renewed his call to the de facto authority to reconsider this decision for the sake of the social inclusion of women and the uninterrupted continuity of the mission of the international network for Human Security in Afghanistan”.

The Secretary-General appreciated the statements issued by Member States, the International Islamic Fiqh Academy, the Women Development Organization, the OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission, Al-Azhar Al-Sharif, the Council of Senior Scholars in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the Muslim World League, which emphasized the position of Islamic Sariah on the need for women’s education, work, and participation in public life.

The Secretary-General affirmed that the OIC would remain committed, through the efforts of the Special Envoy, to the positive dialogue with the de facto authority in Afghanistan, within the framework of the mandate granted to the envoy by the Council of Foreign Ministers, to focus on issues of girls’ education, women’s participation in public life, combating terrorism and inclusive government in Afghanistan.

 

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