Read this joint statement
and see the full list of organisations endorsing it
on ILGA Asia's website
We, the undersigned organisations and individuals 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, prosecuted religious minorities, journalists and human rights defenders have come under threat, and many have gone into hiding out of fear.
We are concerned with 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 prosecuted, 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 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.