Afghanistan: Top UN officials strongly condemn ‘heinous’ attack on girls school


Two senior UN officials on Wednesday, condemned in the strongest terms, a terrorist attack targeting girls and their families outside a high school in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan.

The terrorists who exploded a bomb near a girls’ school in the mostly Shiite district of west Kabul in Dasht-e-Barchi on Saturday “must be held accountable” for their “heinous crime”, the UN Special Representatives for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, and on Violence Against Children, Najat Maalla M’jid, said in a joint statement.

According to news reports, scores of people – many of them students between the ages of 11 and 15 – were killed and hundreds of others injured.

Safeguard girls education

The UN officials also called on the Afghan authorities to urgently protect the right to education in armed conflict, especially for girls, which is too often overlooked and neglected.

“In many contexts, access to education is particularly harsh for girls for economic and cultural reasons, but also for security reasons of which the recent attack in Afghanistan is only one latest tragic example”, they said, pushing for the safety of schools “and that girls just like boys are given equal opportunities to pursue their education”.

Afghanistan schools targeted

Afghanistan schools and hospitals remain one of the most attacked, according to the 2019 Secretary-General Report on Children and Armed Conflict. And preliminary data for 2020 show a similar worrying trend, with COVID-19 further exacerbating the vulnerabilities of children, including girls.

“Girls may not be given the choice to go back to school when they reopen, because they had to work or be married off to support their families”, said the two UN officials.

Against the backdrop of the unremitting challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, they stressed that “countries must make the strategic decision of prioritizing education, including in armed conflict in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of reaching the furthest behind”.

Undermining women’s roles

Targeting girls undermines the crucial role that educated girls and women play in the social and economic development of their societies.

The Special Representatives underlined the urgency of ending the violence in Afghanistan and achieving a peaceful settlement of the conflict.

They also extended their condolences to the victim’s families and the Government of Afghanistan and wished a full recovery to those who were injured in the horrific terrorist attack.

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Kenya: You can be anything you desire, President tells learners

Africa/Kenya/03-10-2019/Author: Rose Welimo/PSCU /Source:

President Uhuru Kenyatta has assured students across the country especially those seating for the ongoing national examinations of the government’s commitment to facilitate them to realise their full potential.

The President said his administration takes seriously its responsibility of ensuring that all Kenyan children are accorded equal opportunity to all aspects of life including education without discrimination.

“There is no place called far in Kenya. Everywhere in Kenya is part of Kenya. And it is the responsibility of any decent government to ensure that our children wherever they may be feel that they are treated in exactly the same way as their colleagues and counterparts in other parts of the country,” the President said.

The President spoke Friday at State House Nairobi when he donated buses to three schools.

The three schools that received the vehicles were Thika School for the Visual Impaired (Kiambu County), Archbishop Eliud Wabukala ACK Malakisi High School (Bungoma County) and Nyiro Girls’ Secondary School from Baragoi, Samburu County.

The Head of State emphasized that the government will not dither in its efforts to support students to achieve their dreams in life.

“You can be anything you desire to be as long as you dedicate your every effort to it. Each one of you has the ability and capability to become great men and women in this country,” the President said as he handed over keys for the buses.

He said the government serves all parts of the country equally in terms of development as he challenged the students to work hard in their studies and uphold values of integrity, honesty and discipline.

“I want you to love yourself, work hard and be disciplined so that you can be what you desire,” the President told the students from the three schools.

President Kenyatta at the same time wished all candidates success in the ongoing national examinations and cautioned against cheating, saying his administration will ensure the policy of 100 percent transition to secondary school is fully adhered to.

“As government, we are determined to fulfill our promise and ensure that every primary school pupil who sits for national exams joins secondary school. If that is our promise, why do you have to cheat?” President Kenyatta said.

He said the government continues to construct and equip technical and vocational institutions throughout the country to absorb those who finish their secondary education but are not able to join universities.

“There are some who will join universities. Others are gifted in other areas and will join the TVETS that we are building all over the country,” the President said.

The Head of State challenged all Kenyans to use their God given gifts to make a difference in life noting that some of the most successful and prominent personalities never went to university and yet they have managed to impact society positively.

Besides the buses, the President presented each of the three schools with 100 indigenous tree seedlings suitable for their localities as part of the ongoing sustained national campaign to increase forest cover.

Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua, Samburu Woman Representative Maison Leshomo, Samburu West Member of Parliament Naisula Lesuuda, nominated senator Isaac Mwaura and members of the boards of management of the three schools were present during the award ceremony.

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