With the recent rapid takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban, the country is now in the midst of a humanitarian crisis that poses extreme threats to the lives and safety of Afghans, especially women, girls, members of marginalised ethnic and religious communities, journalists, and people who have worked with the government or security forces.
The rights – and lives – of Afghan women and girls are at risk
Women and girls in Afghanistan have faced extraordinary oppression under Taliban rule, both in the past and the present. As António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, recently noted in his address to the UN Security Council, “We are receiving chilling reports of severe restrictions on human rights throughout the country” and there are “accounts of mounting human rights violations against the women and girls of Afghanistan who fear a return to the darkest days.”
Guterres went on to note that “It is essential that the hard-won rights of Afghan women and girls are protected. They are looking to the international community for support — the same international community that assured them that opportunities would be expanded, education would be guaranteed, freedoms would spread, and rights would be secured.”
Yet years of military invasion and occupation have not brought peace. Today, as the crisis in Afghanistan unfolds, the rights many Afghan women and girls have embraced over the past two decades are at risk of being stripped away, and violence and insecurity continue.
This was preventable. Afghan women have repeatedly called on the United Nations, states, and regional players to help ensure that women’s human rights are upheld and that there is an inclusive peace process to bring an end to years of devastating conflict. Afghan women have raised the alarm about the impacts of rising violence against civilians and targeted attacks on human rights defenders, journalists, and other civil society actors, and the peace process. But their analysis and calls to action have been ignored.
The world must not turn its back
Now, across Afghanistan, women – including women human rights defenders, journalists, government workers, and others – are living in fear of being targeted by the Taliban for the work they have done in the name of peace and justice, or simply for being women.
After 20 years of sacrifice, the world must not turn its back on Afghanistan. WILPF is deeply committed to securing human rights and a feminist peace in Afghanistan. We are calling on all governments – especially those who leave behind their footprint in the country – to take immediate diplomatic and humanitarian action to secure the well-being of all Afghans seeking refuge abroad or requiring humanitarian support within the country. That includes immediate support for evacuation (visas and flights), humanitarian aid, restarting the peace process, and opening the doors to refugees and asylum seekers.
Join us in demanding peace, justice, and human rights in Afghanistan, and accountability for all of those who have brought the country to this grave situation. Share this blog on social media, read the resources below for more information, and contact your country’s representatives to demand action.
Please also see:
- Statements by WILPF Germany, WILPF Spain, and GAPS UK (signed by WILPF UK)
- International Responsibilities of the UNSC and Member States on Afghanistan
- Recommendations of our coalition, the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security.
For media requests, please email WILPF’s Communications Manager, Nina Hansen, at nina.hansen(a)wilpf.org.