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UN Chief Calls On Taliban To Reverse Ban On Education Of Afghan Girls

UNITED NATIONS, Jan 24: On the International Day of Education, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday called on the Taliban in Afghanistan to reverse the ban on girls' access to secondary and higher education.

Calling education a fundamental right, Guterres said that now is the time for all nations to ensure taking actual steps to develop welcoming and inclusive learning environments for all.

"Now is also the time to end all discriminatory laws and practices that hinder access to education. I call on the de facto authorities in Afghanistan in particular to reverse the outrageous and self-defeating ban on access to secondary and higher education for girls," the official spokesperson of the UN Secretary-General said in a release.

Taking to Twitter, Guterres also tweeted and said, "Now is the time to end all discriminatory laws and practices that hinder access to education."

The theme of this year's International Day of Education reminds us "to invest in people, prioritize education," the official release of the UN added.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) decided to dedicate the International Day of Education 2023 to Afghan girls and women, TOLOnews quoted director-general of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay as saying.

According to UNESCO, currently, around 80 per cent of school-aged Afghan girls and young women are out of school under the Taliban rule, as they denied them access to secondary schools and universities.

After the Taliban ordered an indefinite ban on university education for Afghan girls, several humanitarian organizations, including Education Cannot Wait (ECW), a United Nations global, billion-dollar fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises called on the Taliban authorities in Kabul to revoke their decision to suspend the university education of Afghan women.

The ECW called on the interim Taliban government to allow all girls to return to education, saying that the UN-led humanitarian body stands in solidarity with women in Afghanistan and added that each one has an inherent human right to education.

OCHA announced on Tuesday that now 1.1 million Afghan girls are banned from secondary school and more than 100,000 others are banned from universities.

Furthermore, US mission charge d'affaires, Karen Decker tweeted, "It is difficult to commemorate the International Day of Education today knowing Afghan women & girls are now denied this right. Education is an investment in Afghanistan's future and must be available to boys and girls."

On December 24, the de facto authorities issued a decree banning women from working in NGOs, TOLOnews reported. This came after they had already suspended university education for women and secondary schooling for girls until what they termed further notice.

Since 15 August 2021, the Taliban have barred girls from attending secondary school, restricted women and girls' freedom of movement, excluded women from most areas of the workforce and banned women from using parks, gyms and public bath houses. These restrictions culminate with the confinement of Afghan women and girls to the four walls of their homes.

UN Blacklists Pak Terrorist Makki

BEIJING, Jan 17: China on Tuesday defended its move to lift a technical hold leading to the designation of Pakistan-based top Lashkar-e-Taiba leader Abdul Rehman Makki as a global terrorist, saying that listing of terrorists is conducive to enhancing global counterterrorism cooperation and praised Islamabad for backing counter-terrorism efforts.

Makki, the 68-year-old brother-in-law of Jamat-ud Dawa (JuD) chief and Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed, was designated a global terrorist by the UN after China lifted its hold on a joint India-US proposal to blacklist the deputy chief of Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

The UN Security Council's 1267 ISIL (Da'esh) and Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee added Makki to its list of designated terrorists on Monday, subjecting him to an asset freeze, travel ban, and arms embargo, after years of efforts by India and its allies.

"Terrorism is the common enemy of humanity," Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a media briefing here when asked about China's decision to lift its objections to India and US move to declare Makki a global terrorist, and whether Beijing will also back similar moves against four other Pakistan based terrorists pending with the Committee.

"The 1267 Committee (of the UN Security Council) is an important international counterterrorism mechanism" and listing of terrorists or terror organisations under the aegis of the UN is conducive to enhancing international counterterrorism cooperation in response to terrorist threats, he said.

"The relevant people have been convicted and sentenced by Pakistan. The listing also shows Pakistan's firm combat against terrorism, it is a recognition," he said, without elaborating why China, a close ally of Pakistan, decided to put a technical hurdle in the first place.

China has always been participating in the 1267 Committee's work in a constructive and responsible manner in line with the standards and procedures of the committee, he said.

Makki was among a number of Pakistan-based terrorists which China over the years sought to block from listing as global terrorists.

In May 2019, India secured a huge diplomatic victory at the UN when the global body designated Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar a "global terrorist" after Beijing lifted its objections.

China's move to remove its objections to Makki's UN listing comes as its new Foreign Minister Qin Gang began his tenure. Qin, who was previously China's envoy to the US, succeeded Wang Yi.

China's attempts to put technical holds on the declaration of Pakistan-based terrorists over the years have become a major irritant in the troubled ties between Beijing and New Delhi.

It also comes at a time India and China sought to resolve the military stand-off in Eastern Ladakh through high-level military and diplomatic dialogue. The two countries have held 17 rounds of talks to work out the disengagement of troops from several points of friction in eastern Ladakh.

Makki's listing as a global terrorist comes seven months after China had, on June 16, 2022, put a hold on a joint proposal by India and the US to designate the head of the political affairs wing of JuD/LeT.

Decisions to list individuals and entities under the 1267 sanctions committee are made through consensus.

Of the 15 Security Council members that make up the Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee, veto-wielding permanent member China was the sole hold-out during the process to list Makki.

With China finally lifting its hold, Makki was designated as a "global terrorist" through consensus.

China has repeatedly placed holds and blocks on bids by India and its allies to list Pakistan-based terrorists.

The Sanctions Committee provided a narrative summary of reasons for Makki's listing, in which it said he and other LeT/JuD operatives have been involved in raising funds, recruiting and radicalising youth to violence, and planning attacks in India, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir.

The UN said in a press release, Makki is deputy Amir/Chief of LeT a.k.a JuD and Head of the Political Affairs Wing JuD/LeT. He also served as head of LeT's foreign relations department and a member of Shura (governing body).

Makki, born in Bahawalpur, Punjab Province of Pakistan, is a US-designated terrorist.

He was arrested on May 15, 2019, in Pakistan and placed under house arrest in Lahore. In 2020, a Pakistani court convicted Makki of terrorism financing and sentenced him to jail, the sanctions committee said.

The sanctions committee said that whilst Makki has held his leadership positions within LeT and JuD, LeT has been responsible for or had involvement in prominent attacks including the Red Fort attack in which six LeT terrorists had entered Red Fort on December 22, 2000, and opened indiscriminate fire on the security forces guarding the Fort.

Describing the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks as the most audacious attack by LeT in India, the committee said 10 LeT terrorists from Pakistan entered via the Arabian Sea in Mumbai with pre-decided targets out of which Ajmal Kasab was caught alive, the rest were killed.

U.N. Security Council welcomes new members including two first timers

UNITED NATIONS, Jan 3: Ecuador, Japan, Malta, Mozambique and Switzerland got a formal welcome into the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday, taking the two-year seats they won unopposed in June.

In a tradition that Kazakhstan started in 2018, the five countries' ambassadors installed their national flags on Tuesday alongside those of other members outside the council chambers.

Mozambican Ambassador Pedro Afonso Comissário of Mozambique called it “a historic date” and Swiss Ambassador Pascale Baeriswyl said she felt “a deep sense of humility and responsibility” as their countries marked their first-ever terms on U.N.'s most powerful body. Malta joined for a second time, Ecuador a fourth and Japan a record 12th.

hina, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States are permanent, veto-wielding members of the group. Its 10 other members are elected by the 193-nation General Assembly for staggered, two-year terms. They're allocated by global regions.

To many countries, winning a council seat is considered a signature diplomatic accomplishment that can raise a nation's global profile and afford small countries a bigger voice than they might otherwise have in the major international peace and security issues of the day.

The council deploys peacekeeping missions, can approve sanctions and speaks out — sometimes — on conflicts and flashpoints, while also surveying such thematic issues as terrorism and arms control.

While many matters are perennials on the agenda, council members also can use the platform to spotlight emerging concerns or topics of particular interest to them.

Countries often campaign for the council for years. Some 60 nations have never had a seat since the group's formation in 1946.

The five latest members are replacing India, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico and Norway. Their terms ended on December 31.

The other current two-year members are Albania, Brazil, Gabon, Ghana and United Arab Emirates.





UN Urges Taliban To End 'Unfathomable Restrictions' On Women
Expansion of Security Council now on the table: UN Chief Antonio Guterres


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