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EU can help Afghan women and girls through academic networks – MEP Kelly

Published: Tue, 25 April 2023

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Seán Kelly MEP has urged the European Commission to take immediate action to support Afghan girls and women who have been denied their fundamental right to education under the Taliban regime, by strengthening EU Academic Networks for Afghan citizens. As a former teacher, the Ireland South MEP is acutely aware of the adverse effects of missing out on education and has called for swift and tangible action to support Afghan women and girls.

In a letter to the EU Commissioner responsible for education, Mariya Gabriel, MEP Kelly highlighted that the situation in Afghanistan has reached a crisis point, especially for women and girls, many of whom now face the prospect of forced child marriages and child labour. To address this issue, Kelly proposes that “the EU provide support through academic networks. Universities across the EU have been exemplary in supporting Ukrainian students, offering various forms of support, including lower or waived tuition fees, language classes, and welcome packages.” Kelly adds that the EU has the capacity to offer Afghan women similar support to get them back into education.

The Yunus Center AIT’s Yunus Professional Masters -Special Program for Afghanistan is singled out as a model for supporting Afghan women’s professional development by MEP Kelly. Following numerous conversation with administrators of the special programme, the Fine Gael MEP has said more such initiatives are needed and has called on “universities across Member States to follow this model and approach in their support for Afghan women”.

“Afghanistan will need educated women to rebuild itself in the wake of the Taliban, and the EU has the potential to contribute towards this” said Kelly. Therefore, Kelly has called on the European Commission and Member States to facilitate scholarships exclusively for Afghan women and girls.

MEP Kelly stressed that the EU must act decisively to support Afghan citizens, particularly women and girls, who have been denied their right to education. By strengthening academic networks and providing scholarships, the EU can play a crucial role in supporting the future of Afghanistan, he underlined.

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