Afghanistan Independent Human rights commission on Thursday stated that every child has the fundamental right to education, freedom of expression, and access to artistic skills without any gender or age-based discrimination.
Reacting to a decision by the Ministry of Education to ban public singing for schoolgirls above age 12 AIHRC added that all boys and girls have the right to freely and equally express their rights according to the law and that any decision that restricts children’s rights and their freedom is against general principles of human rights.
“The Convention on the rights of the children and the national laws of Afghanistan, in particular, the Constitution and the law on the protection of the rights of the children”, AIHRC stated.
The AIHRC said it is expected that the Ministry of Education should make decisions “based on principles to support freedom, equality and the highest interests of children and not promote gender discrimination.”
According to AIHRC the Ministry of Education should make decisions based on principles to support freedom, equality and should maintain and protect the highest interests of children.
Ministry of Education must avoid promotion of gender discrimination, the statement read.
This comes as on Wednesday the Ministry of Education announced to ban girls from age 12 and above from singing the national anthem, or other group songs or anthems during the school’s daily events or functions.
The order faced a strong backlash from critics and social media users, they described it as imposed limitations of civil liberties of women and girls.
The ban is expected to be applied to all government and private schools.
Not allowing school girls above age 12 to participate in artistic activities of the schools and public performances is because families have complained that such activities affect student’s studies and that their daughters have a high burden of other learning activities.
Critics believe this matter should not be treated as an imposed rule but rather to give students the free choice to participate during public performances, and the question of why boys were not limited to this order remains unanswered, they have study burdens too.