Double Standards of UN Human Rights Council on Female Education

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-Huma Masih

NEW DELHI –United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volter Turk shared his thoughts while talking about the human rights situation in the world in the 54th session of the Human Rights Council. He talked important things about the issue of female education.

It has been alleged in the UN human rights report that after the Taliban grabbed power in Afghanistan, “the situation of human rights there is deteriorating and rights of women and girls are being denied.”

In a post by the official X (Twitter) handle of the UN, it was said that education was not a luxury- it is a human right. It added that denying education was denying the human rights of women and girls and they could be made more vulnerable to violence, poverty and exploitation. It said that all students should have the right to learn.

It is quite a praiseworthy and important step for the UN Human Rights Commission to clear its stand on the issue of female education. It is pleasant to note that the Human Rights Council is concerned about the education of Afghanistan.

But in a world where women of the so-called developed nations are being denied education through legislation, will it be enough for the UN to express concern over the education issue of only Afghanistan’s women?

Why Human Rights Council is silent over the denial of education in the garb of hijab in France?

Recently a ban was put on wearing hijab while going to school in France. The hijab-wearing girls are being forced to abandon their attire if they want to get an education and they are being asked to adopt the so-called modern dress.

Gabriel Attal, the French Education Minister declared the covering of the head by Muslim girls as a political attack.

However, he failed to explain how the covering of the head by a Muslim woman was akin to a political attack. According to him, the garment (abaya/hijab) violated France’s strict secular laws in education.

Hijab banned in India’s Karnataka to keep the school students away from education

Prior to this, similar to France, hijab was banned in schools in the Indian state of Karnataka. Both in France and India, a ban on hijab was declared legal by the respective courts for different reasons.

Girls were ousted from the school at both places for covering their heads. Muslim girls are being denied education for only covering their heads too.

It is quite worrisome to see the UN Human Rights Commission silent on the denial of education to girls for wearing hijab in France and India while the Commission shows concern for the education of Afghanistan’s women.

Why the UN Human Rights Council is silent on the official policy of keeping women away from education in France?

Why is the UN Human Rights Council adopting a biased approach towards the denial of education to hijab-wearing girls in India and France? Should not the educational rights of the hijab-wearing be not protected as the UN is doing in the case of Afghanistan’s women?

It is worth mentioning here that France comes in the developed and India in the developing category. Afghanistan is already considered under-developed by the rest of the world in education and other sectors.

In such undeveloped countries, it is not a secret that along with women others don’t get the educational facilities. However, it is necessary that in those countries useful steps should be taken to encourage women’s education.

The UN Human Rights Council should not keep silent on the crime of discrimination among men and women being carried out by the so-called developed and developing countries. Instead, it should suggest and call out the names of the countries on this issue considering it as grave.

FIFA changed its rule regarding the Hijab

Hijab is not violating any rule in the international football organisation FIFA which has allowed hijab wearing along with team jerseys, or in other national or international educational institutions. Only the Islamophobic leaders of France and India oppose hijab.

Hijab-wearing women are successful in every sphere of life and they are not successful only in those areas where non-inclusive laws are made to ban hijab. We have the fresh example of France where hijab-wearing girls are stopped from moving forward.

In India’s Karnataka state, the last government kept the girls away from education by legislation. There are cases in other BJP-ruled states where hijab-wearing girls were denied from appearing in the competitive examinations because of hijab.

The UN Human Rights Council is keeping mischievous silent on the case of keeping the girls away from education in the garb of hijab.

Why Muslim women don’t enjoy the freedom of attire/dress?

On one hand, the liberal section extends staunch support to girls and women to choose their clothes and puts many arguments for that, on the other hand, this section does not speak in favor of Muslim girls and students who choose to wear hijab. Why it is so?

We may call it a global irony or tragedy but those opposing Muslim women from choosing hijab as their attire are the same people who claim to be liberal, modern, and feminists.

Be it India, France, or other parts of the world, the anti-hijab people are not doing any healthy dialogue. Instead, the anti-hijab lobby is denying the hijabi girls their fundamental right to education by misusing the power and making arbitrary laws. The irony is that they call themselves developed and developing even after resorting to this act.
It is ironic that by reserving their right to choose clothes they deny the same to hijabi girls and call themselves liberal, modern, and feminist.

What kind of democracy and liberal society is being made by forcibly removing hijab of the hijabi girls?

The method of civilized society, democratic educational institutions, and ideological platforms is to debate with those with opposing views but in the case of hijab, it is been observed all over the world that there is no healthy discussion on hijab and it is being boycotted.

Even if there is a discussion on hijab somewhere only anti-hijab people gather and discuss and the so-called liberal, modern and feminists don’t allow hijab-wearing women to take part in those discussions.

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