By Asia Education Review Team , Wednesday, 10 July 2024

Malala Yousafzai Urges UK Prime Minister to Prioritize Afghan Girls' Education

  • Malala Yousafzai, an advocate for girls' education, has called on the UK's new Prime Minister, Keir Starmer, to make addressing the issue of girls' education deprivation in Afghanistan and other nations a key focus of his foreign policy. Yousafzai tweeted, “As you shape Britain’s foreign policy and development plans in the next 100 days, it is crucial to prioritize the rights and education of girls worldwide, with special consideration for those denied education under the Taliban’s gender apartheid regime in Afghanistan”.

    Addressing Starmer directly, Malala Yousafzai highlighted that girls around the world are counting on his solidarity and proactive measures. She stressed the urgency of prioritizing girls' education as a top agenda item in his foreign policy within the next 100 days. In Afghanistan, girls above the sixth grade have been denied education by the Taliban, who cite unsuitable conditions without specifying a timeline for reopening schools.

    Under Starmer's leadership of the Labour Party, which achieved a substantial majority in the UK parliamentary elections, he overturned the Conservative government's policy of sending asylum seekers to Rwanda. This decision had particularly negative consequences for Afghan refugees in the country, as reported by the press.

    Meanwhile, Yousafzai's appeal emphasizes the pressing need for worldwide focus and efforts to uphold girls' right to education, especially in areas impacted by extremist regimes such as the Taliban in Afghanistan. Starmer's administration is under substantial international pressure to take a leading role on this matter, reflecting broader global anxieties regarding human rights and gender equality in education.

    Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani female education activist and the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize laureate at the age of 17.  She is the youngest Nobel Prize laureate in history, the second Pakistani and the only Pashtun to receive a Nobel Prize.  Yousafzai is a human rights advocate for the education of women and children in her native homeland, Swat, where the Pakistani Taliban had at times banned girls from attending school. Her advocacy has grown into an international movement, and according to former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, she has become Pakistan's "most prominent citizen".