S. Douglas Bunch
New York, New York
October 18, 2022
Thank you. We remain deeply concerned about the situation in Afghanistan, where many girls are still prohibited from going to school and rates of child labor and child, early, and forced marriage are surging, reversing the gains made in human rights, including the right to education, over the past 20 years.
We were outraged when earlier this month, the Taliban forced girls’ secondary schools to close despite local communities’ demands for these schools to remain open. We will continue to engage with the UN and international partners to push the Taliban to reverse their restrictions on the right to education and allow girls to return to school at all levels.
We are also alarmed by the impact Russia’s war against Ukraine has on education and child protection. Over 2,400 schools are reported to have been hit by shelling and bombing, and nearly 270 have been completely destroyed in direct defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 2601.
The right to education does not cease during times of war, and we call on the Russian Federation to immediately cease all actions that threaten the right to education for all children and that expose out-of-school children and youth to violence, particularly girls, who are at high risk of experiencing conflict-related sexual violence, trafficking, and other forms of violence.
The United States is working diligently to support and help promote quality, safe, equitable, and inclusive education as many students return to in-person learning amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Madame Rapporteur, what tools or resources do you recommend for supporting the mental wellbeing of students as they return to in-person learning?