France utterly condemns yesterday's deeply shocking decision by the Taliban to ban women from Afghan universities.
This decision follows in the wake of the Taliban's countless violations and restrictions of women's fundamental rights and freedoms: barring girls from secondary schools, forcing them to wear head-to-toe coverings in public spaces that entirely cover their faces, and numerous other restrictions on women's ability to work and move about. These serious violations of fundamental rights and freedoms by the Taliban are absolutely unacceptable.
This decision proves yet again that the Taliban is pursuing a policy of repression and systematic exclusion against half the population of Afghanistan, one that seriously undermines the country's long-term development and stability as well as its relations with the rest of the world. France reaffirms its unwavering commitment to the universal right to education and its particular concern for defending the rights of girls and women. Access to education for Afghan girls and women is vital to the equitable, sustainable development of Afghan society.
Q: A quick follow-up question on your comment about Afghanistan and on banning women from universities. There's a G7 meeting tomorrow. Will this matter be raised at the meeting, as the German minister seems to be implying? And in practical terms, what can the G7 do to pressure the Taliban government to change, or at least to reverse this decision?
A: We are obviously communicating with our international partners on this issue, and especially our G7 partners. We all share the condemnation I just expressed and we are all extremely concerned about the worsening situation of Afghan women and their rights as a result of decisions by Taliban authorities. I don't know if this point will be on the agenda, but there will most probably be a joint statement on this topic.