The United Nations has warned that preventing a child from access to education for wearing hijab is a serious violation human rights and international standards on freedom of education.

The remarks come after there were running battles between Muslim and Anglicans at Mmanga School when two girls were prevented from attending classes for wearing a hijab.

According to the press statement released by United Nations Resident Coordinator, Maria Jose Torres, expressed the concern over the violence which resulted in at least two persons being seriously injured.

Jose Torres said the rights to freedom of expression and religion are fundamental rights that ensure human dignity and a functional democracy.

She said Section 36 sub section 3 chapter c paragraph III of the Education Act (2013) stipulates that the school or college shall not impose restrictions of whatever nature with respect to the admission of students, recruitment and appointment of staff.

The Resident Coordinator added that preventing a girl child from attending class discourages girls from attaining education, denying them the right to learn and actively participate in society, at a time when Malawi is focusing on ending child marriage and keeping girls in school.

The statement also said all forms of violence, including endangering lives and the destruction of private and public property are considered criminal and unacceptable.

Jose Torres has therefore called on all Malawians to respect each other’s religious beliefs and engage in peaceful dialogue to resolve differences.

The United Nations has however reminded the state authorities to ensure that all people of Malawi are able to exercise their beliefs and cultural practices free from persecution and discrimination.