GENEVA: The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has unanimously passed a draft resolution tabled by the UAE on the girls’ right to education during the ongoing 35th session of the Council in Geneva.

So far, 80 states have adopted the draft resolution, including the European countries, Union States and the Arab group.

The draft resolution calls for the realisation of the equal enjoyment of the right to education by every girl.

Citing statistics by international organisations, Obaid Salem Al Za’abi, Permanent Representative of the UAE to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Geneva, said: “Despite progress, girls and women continue to be discriminated against in accessing education and within education systems. At least 57 million children worldwide, including 31 million girls, are out of school and two-thirds of the illiterate adults are women. In developing countries, adolescent girls are more likely to drop out of secondary school than boys, particularly in the rural areas.’’

Against the backdrop of these worrying figures, Al Za’abi stated that the UAE draft resolution seeks to give high priority to the importance of education of girls as a right that has a ripple effect on many other rights.

“Without giving girls their equitable right to education, all attempts to empower women and girls are doomed to fail.

“Stereotypes that spontaneously place women at a lower status or depict them as just housewives will persist,” he affirmed.

The draft resolution calls for the provision of equitable educational opportunities for girls, regardless of their social, economic or health status, including those vulnerable or marginalised, girls with disabilities, those who belong to indigenous groups, girls of a religious, ethnic and linguistic minority, or those living in rural areas.

“The draft resolution is keen to place the right of girls to education within the dynamics of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, which ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education that will lead to relevant and effective learning outcomes,” Al Za’abi said.

The resolution calls on states to eliminate obstacles that stand in the way of full enjoyment of the girls’ right to education, including discriminatory policies and regulations, poverty, tradition, religious considerations or financial hardship, and all forms of violence such as sexual harassment in the school environment, and other harmful practices.

The resolution provides for a safe environment in schools, access to well-equipped health facilities and safe drinking water.

It also calls for ensuring the safety of girls outside the school premises against sexual violence and other potential risks posed by terrorist groups.

In its last article, the UAE resolution stressed the importance of international cooperation and financial and technical assistance by rich countries to the poor countries to fund educational programmes to close the widening gender gap.

The 35th session of the HRC took place in Geneva from June 6 to June 23.