GENEVA: Attacks on schoolgirls and girls’ education are on the rise, according to a new report from the United Nations office of human rights.
The report cited a handful of high-profile attacks in recent years. In Pakistan, in the deadliest attack of this kind in years, the Pakistani Taliban slaughtered over 140 people, including 132 students at Army Public School in December last year. Two years prior, then 15-year-old Malala Yousufzai was shot at close range in the head by a Taliban gunman, making her the face of the struggle to educate girls. She has since completely recovered and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize at age 17.
Many of the attacks are done in the name of culture or religion, while others are gang-related, notably in El Salvador and other parts of Central America, Veronica Birga, chief of the women’s human rights and gender section at the UN human rights office, said at a presentation to launch the report.
“Attacks against girls accessing education persist and, alarmingly, appear in some countries to be occurring with increasing regularity,” the report said. “In most instances, such attacks form part of broader patterns of violence, inequality and discrimination.” Many of the attacks in at least 70 countries between 2009-2014 involved rape and abduction, the report said.