SCOTLAND’S largest union for teachers and lecturers has called on the Scottish and UK governments to support efforts to eliminate all barriers to girls’ and women’s participation in education in Afghanistan.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), is also calling for government to support additional humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan, and to welcome and support refugees fleeing the country for their own safety.

EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan has written to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging their governments to do more to support people in Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover of the country.

In his letters to both leaders, Flanagan says: “The Taliban, which seized power earlier this year, is reversing decades of educational and human rights’ progress and targeting schools and educational institutions to hinder girls’ education and erase women’s participation.

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“From 1996 to 2001 it barred girls and women from almost all work, the right to vote and to access education.

“Despite recent assurances from the Taliban, Education International (EI) member organisations in Afghanistan are reporting that the situation is getting worse for women teachers and students, especially girls.”

Flanagan continues: “The international community needs to act to ensure the right to education for all is safeguarded and particular attention is given to decisions and policies impacting on girls and women in Afghanistan.

“Safety and security of all students and educators, especially girls and women are severely threatened.

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“The Taliban government recently barred girls and women from attending secondary schools (grades seven to 12). Due to a severe drought, the security situation and the harsh winter, half of the country’s population (39 million), mostly women and children, face starvation and need urgent humanitarian assistance.”

In his letter to Johnson, Flanagan adds: “It is the EIS view that the UK Government has a moral responsibility to provide humanitarian support, to facilitate rescue/resettlement and to provide asylum to Afghan refugees in light of our longstanding military operations in Afghanistan.”