136 groups call for protection of women, children and LGBTQ+ people in Afghanistan

In a joint statement shared by the international LGBTQ+ rights group, ILGA, the groups share their concerns following the continued Taliban takeover.

A group of 5 children playing in Afghanistan
Image: Sohaib Ghyasi

As the Taliban continue their takeover of Afghanistan, many are rightfully concerned for the safety of women, children and LGBTQ+ people amongst others.

ILGA Asia, a regional group of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, have released a Joint Statement on Afghanistan: Protect Women, Children, LGBTIQ and Other Vulnerable Persons calling for the protection of those listed.

Signed by 136 organisations “working to advance the human rights of persons of diverse sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics,” the statement reads: “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.”

The statement continued, “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.”

The signed statement called 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.

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