giovedì, 18 Luglio 2024

Afghanistan, arrestato creatore del progetto istruzione femminile

Il fratello di Wesa ha confermato l'arresto, dicendo che è stato prelevato fuori da una moschea dopo le preghiere lunedì sera.

Da non perdere

Il fondatore di un progetto che si batte per l’istruzione femminile in Afghanistan è stato arrestato dalle autorità talebane a Kabul. La notizia è stata diffusa dal fratello e dalla missione Onu in Afghanistan.

“Matiullah Wesa, responsabile di PenPath1 e sostenitore dell’istruzione femminile, è stato arrestato lunedì a Kabul”, ha twittato l’Onu. Il fratello di Wesa ha confermato l’arresto, dicendo che è stato prelevato fuori da una moschea dopo le preghiere lunedì sera. “Matiullah aveva finito di pregare ed era uscito dalla moschea quando è stato fermato da alcuni uomini a bordo di due veicoli”, ha detto Samiullah Wesa all’AFP. “Quando Matiullah ha chiesto le loro carte d’identità, lo hanno picchiato e portato via con la forza”.
La Missione di assistenza delle Nazioni Unite in Afghanistan (UNAMA) ha chiesto alle autorità di “chiarire la sua posizione, le ragioni del suo arresto e di garantire l’accesso alla rappresentanza legale e ai contatti con la sua famiglia”.

L’organizzazione fondata da Matiullah – che si batte per le scuole e distribuisce libri nelle aree rurali – si dedica da tempo a comunicare l’importanza dell’istruzione femminile agli anziani dei villaggi. Da quando è stato vietato l’accesso alle scuole secondarie per le ragazze, Wesa ha continuato a visitare le aree più remote per raccogliere il sostegno della gente del posto. “Stiamo contando le ore, i minuti e i secondi per la riapertura delle scuole femminili. Il danno che la chiusura delle scuole provoca è irreversibile e innegabile”, ha twittato la scorsa settimana, all’inizio del nuovo anno scolastico in Afghanistan

A prominent Afghan campaigner for female education has been arrested by the Taliban, even as teenage girls and women remain barred from classrooms.

Matiullah Wesa, 30, who has travelled to remote parts of the country trying to improve access to education for all children, has often received threats.

The Taliban have not said why Mr Wesa was taken into custody.

His arrest comes amid the detention of a number of activists who have been campaigning for women’s education.

In February Prof Ismail Mashal, an outspoken critic of the ban on education for women, was arrested in Kabul while handing out free books. He was freed on 5 March but has not spoken out since then.

Mr Wesa has been campaigning for girls’ right to study since the Taliban barred female education in 2021.

His last tweet – on Monday, a day before his arrest – was a photo of women volunteers for Pen Path “asking for the Islamic rights to education for their daughters”

The UN’s mission in Afghanistan has also highlighted Mr Wesa’s case and called on the Taliban to clarify his whereabouts and the reasons for his detainment.

Women’s rights have been gradually eroded since the Taliban returned to power in 2021 following the withdrawal of US-led forces.

Only boys and male teachers were allowed into secondary schools when they reopened in September 2021.

There was a brief spell of hope following an announcement in March 2022 that girls would be allowed to attend secondary schools. But tearful schoolgirls were turned away after what appeared to be an abrupt U-turn by the leadership.

They said girls would be allowed to return to school after “a comprehensive plan has been prepared according to Sharia and Afghan culture”. But in December 2022, female students were also barred from universities.

The Taliban say schools and universities are only temporarily closed to women and girls until a “suitable environment” can be created.

But women are severely curtailed in other ways too. The Taliban have decreed that women should be dressed in a way that only reveals their eyes, and must be accompanied by a male relative if they are travelling more than 72km (48 miles).

And last November, women were banned from parks, gyms and swimming pools, stripping away the simplest of freedoms. The enforcement of the rules is different in different areas, but the rules create an environment of fear and anxiety.

The restrictions have continued despite international condemnation and protests by ordinary women as well as activists speaking up on their behalf.

They have also hindered the work of foreign aid groups after the Taliban said women could not work in domestic and international NGOs except in the health sector.

Some organisations were forced to suspend services at a time when the country is reeling from a severe economic and humanitarian crisis.

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