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EI letter to the President of Afghanistan

EI sent a letter to the President of Afghanistan on 26 Jan 2006, urging him to take action on the series of attacks targeting educators in schools where children, especially girls, are studying across Afghanistan. EI released a press statement on the same day, asking the international community to redouble their efforts to guarantee girls’ education in Afghanistan and the safety of teachers who educate girls.

Below is the content of EI's letter in English _______________________________________ To: President Hamid Karzai Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Brussels, 26th January 2006 Dear President, Education International (EI) recognizes the significant efforts that have been made to increase primary school enrolment in Afghanistan - especially of girls – nevertheless it still remains among the lowest in the world. EI is also aware of and welcomes the various efforts which have been made to support the education sector (training, curriculum reform, providing teaching and learning materials). EI commends those efforts and encourages you and the Government of Afghanistan to continue to pursue vigorously the goal of providing a comprehensive education service for all the children and citizens of Afghanistan. However, EI wants to protest and express its deep concern, about reports of a series of attacks targeting educators in schools where children, especially girls, are studying across Afghanistan: According to various reports of which EI has become aware, guerrilla fighters are intimidating communities and forcing families not to send their girls to school; they are attacking schools teaching girls – often burning them down at night – and they are beating and killing teachers; they are putting up posters demanding girls' schools be closed and threatening to kill the remaining teachers who continue to teach girls. EI has received specific reports that: - On December 15, 2005, suspected Taliban guerrillas dragged a teacher from a classroom of teenagers in Helmand province and executed him at the school gate after he ignored their orders to stop teaching girls. In October, 2005, gunmen had already killed a headmaster in front of his students at a boys’ school in Southern Kandahar province. - In January, four men stabbed Malim Abdul Habib eight times before decapitating him in the courtyard of his home in Qalat, province of Zabul, a remote and mountainous province populated mainly by Pashtuns and bordering Pakistan. The assailants made Habib's wife, four sons and four daughters watch. Abdul Habib, 45, was the headmaster of Shaikh Mathi Baba high school, which is attended by 1,300 boys and girls. Habib resumed a more than 20-year teaching career two years ago after the Taliban threatened him while he was working for an aid group helping the disabled. Since then, the Taliban had warned him twice to stop teaching. Like many other victims who received warning letters he continued to do so without any protection. - According to local authorities in Zabul, 100 of the province's 170 registered schools have been closed in the past two to three years because of poor security. Of the 35,000 students attending schools, 2700 were girls. Education International demands that, apart from the UN and NATO agencies providing protection for economic reconstruction and rehabilitation, the lives of girls, women and their teachers are given special protection. In particular your government should ensure the safety of teachers who educate women and girls. If there is no education for all there simply is no future. EI also demands a full investigation into the murders and attacks reported and appropriate action by the authorities. Education International is the global union federation which represents 349 organisations of education workers in 165 countries and territories throughout the world. Yours sincerely, Fred van Leeuwen, General Secretary Cc. Ministry of Education Minister of Internal Affairs UNICEF (Education Section, Programme Division) UNESCO (Emergency, Crisis and Reconstruction Division) ICFTU EI Regional Office Kuala Lumpur