Joint Statement on Afghanistan: Protect Women, Children, LGBTIQ & Other Vulnerable Persons

We, the undersigned organisations working to advance the human rights of persons of diverse sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics (SOGIESC) call for the protection of women, children, LGBTIQ people and other vulnerable persons in Afghanistan.

Since 15 August, the Taliban-led takeover of Kabul’s Presidential Palace and the abrupt collapse of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s government raises concerns over human rights and the safety of marginalised groups in the country. Besides LGBTIQ people and people of diverse SOGIESC, women, persecuted religious minorities, journalists and human rights defenders have come under threat, and many have gone into hiding out of fear.

We are concerned with alleged reports of the Taliban already implementing their strict version of the Sharia law, and it has been reported that many women and girls fear participating in public life and face the risk of being banned from going to school and university again. We are saddened to see the decades of progress made by women’s groups be potentially reversed suddenly and disastrously.

We also fear that LGBTIQ people will be further criminalised and persecuted, as authorities in the Taliban have made recent statements that death sentences will be reinstated for gay men. The Afghan LGBTIQ people have already been living in fear of violence and killings for a number of years, and we dread that this situation will escalate further.

In ILGA World’s latest State-Sponsored Homophobia (2020) report, Afghanistan is listed among countries for which there is no full legal certainty that the death penalty is the established punishment for consensual same-sex sexual acts (see here). The same report also updates on the explicit criminalising provisions of “same-sex conduct” under Section 646 of Afghanistan’s 2017 Penal Code and enforcement in recent years (see here).

While the Taliban has announced a “general amnesty” in Afghanistan and has called for women to join its government “according to Sharia law”, it is imperative that any form of governance that takes place, needs to empower women and minorities and be based on human rights and evidence-based practices. If the Taliban wants to include women, it needs to first stop preventing women from accessing public life and education and to not perpetuate any harm against women and minorities.

The crisis in Afghanistan is complex and difficult, but we remind the international community that it has a moral obligation—particularly those who have played a role in the development of the issue—to ensure that the political crisis is diffused via a solution that prioritises the self-determination of the Afghan people while protecting vulnerable persons from harm and violence.

We call for the following:

  • We urge the Taliban to respect the rights of all people granted by the Constitution of Afghanistan, the international covenants ratified by Afghanistan, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and international human rights norms, irrespective of their SOGIESC status.
  • We demand that any effort to quell this political crisis will be made with the consultation of vulnerable people in Afghanistan including LGBTIQ persons and women. Their human rights must not be compromised for a political peace deal.
  • We call on the international community to provide urgent humanitarian assistance and protection to all Afghans.
  • We urge that countries open their borders and accept refugees and asylum seekers from Afghanistan. We commend Canada’s commitment to accepting 20,000 vulnerable Afghans and prioritising LGBTIQ persons, women leaders and other groups, and look to other countries to follow suit.
  • We call on everyone to work together to provide support in their own capacity. We call on individuals and groups to make donations, donors to make emergency funding available, and for organisations to assist in coordinating the collection and distribution of funds, noting the lack of LGBTIQ organisations in Afghanistan.

Endorsed by the following groups:

  1. 6Rang (Iranian Lesbian and Transgender Network)
  2. Access Planet Organization
  3. African Trans Network
  4. Aleph Melbourne
  5. All Out
  6. All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)
  7. Alouen
  8. Amnesty International Taiwan Section
  9. Antalya Feminist Kolektif
  10. ASEAN Feminist LBQ Network
  11. ASEAN SOGIE Caucus
  12. Asia Pacific Transgender Network
  13. Asia-Pacific Rainbow Catholics Network
  14. Bangladesh Queer Partnership Platform- EQUAL
  15. Beyond Borders Malaysia
  16. Bisdak Pride, Inc.
  17. Bisexual Alliance Victoria
  18. Boys of Bangladesh (Formerly)
  19. Campaign for Change 
  20. CAN-Myanmar 
  21. CEDAW Committee of Trinidad & Tobago
  22. Centre for Civil and Political Rights
  23. Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) Malaysia
  24. COC Netherlands
  25. Community Welfare and Development Fund
  26. Covenants Watch
  27. CPCD Studio
  28. Dawei Probono Lawyer Network
  29. Deaf Rainbow 
  30. Diversity and Solidarity Trust – Sri Lanka 
  31. Diversity Lounge Toyama
  32. Doshisha University 
  33. Edge Effect
  34. ELLY Fukui
  35. Equal Asia Foundation
  36. EQUAL GROUND, Sri Lanka 
  37. GAYa NUSANTARA Foundation
  38. Gays Without Borders
  39. Helem
  40. Human Dignity Trust
  41. Human Rights Defenders World Summit
  42. ILGA Asia
  43. ILGA World
  44. Iloilo Pride Team
  45. Inclusive Bangladesh
  46. International Service for Human Rights
  47. International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific
  48. Intersex Philippines
  49. isha lisha – Haifa feminist center
  50. Ishikawa Conference for LGBT
  51. Iwate Rainbow Network
  52. J-ALL (Japan Alliance for LGBT Legislation)
  53. JEJAKA
  54. justice for sisters
  55. Kampania Przeciw Homofobii | Campaign Against Homophobia (Poland)
  56. Kanazawa Rainbow Pride
  57. Kaos GL 
  58. Korean Sexual-minority Culture & Rights Center
  59. LakanBini Advocates Pilipinas 
  60. Legal Dignity
  61. Let’s Breakthrough, Inc.
  62. Lezpa
  63. LGBT Centre
  64. LOUD (Lesbians of Undeniable Drive)
  65. LOVE4ONE
  66. M-coalition
  68. Manushya Foundation
  69. Marsa Sexual Health Center
  70. Matimba
  71. Metro Manila Pride 
  72. Midneunfemi
  73. Monsoon Malaysia (MM)
  74. MOSAIC Mena
  75. Movimiento de Integración y Liberación Homosexual (MOVILH)
  76. Mujer-LGBT Organization, Inc
  77. Namibia Diverse Women Association
  78. Nijiiro Diversity
  79. Noboprobhaat 
  80. Nőkért Egyesület (Association for Women), Hungary  
  81. NPO Tokyo Rainbow Pride
  82. Oogachaga
  83. Outrage Magazine
  84. OutRight Action International
  85. Pacific Human Rights Initiative
  86. Palestinian Working Woman for Development “PWWSD”
  87. Pan Africa ILGA
  88. PELANGI Campaign
  89. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita, Selangor (Friends of Women Organisation, Selangor)
  90. Pioneer Filipino Transgender men Movement
  92. Planet Ally
  93. PLUHO (People Like Us Hang Out!)
  94. Pride House Tokyo
  95. PROHAM
  96. Proud Futures
  97. PT Foundation
  98. Queer Voices of Bhutan
  99. Queers4Climate 
  100. Rainbow Action Against Sexual-Minority Discrimination
  101. Rainbow Egypt
  102. RainbowJesus (무지개예수)
  103. RFSU – Sexual and Reproductive Rights for All, IPPF member
  104. Sans Tabous
  105. Sayoni
  106. SEED Malaysia
  107. Seoul Human Rights Film Festival in South Korea
  108. SGRainbow
  109. SHARE, center for Sexual rigHts And Reproductive justicE
  110. Sisters in Islam, Malaysia
  111. SOGILAW
  113. Success Capital Organisation
  114. Swasti
  115. Taiwan Association for Human Rights
  116. Taiwan Equality Campaign
  117. Taiwan Gender Equity Education Association
  118. Taiwan LGBTQ Family Rights Advocacy
  119. Taiwan Tongzhi (LGBTQ+) Hotline Association
  120. The Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK)
  121. The Global Center for LGBTI+ Freedom and Education
  122. The Institute for Studies on Society, Economy & Environment – iSEE
  123. Thorne Harbour Health
  124. Together4Change: DAWOOM
  125. Transgender Equality Hong Kong
  126. Transgender Victoria
  127. Transpiration Power
  128. Trikone Australasia Inc
  129. Tufts University
  130. UP Babaylan
  131. Visayas LBTQ Network
  132. Women Against Rape
  133. Women for Women’s Rights (WWHR)
  134. Youth Voices Count
  135. にじ♡はぐ 石川
  136. ひだまりの会