HRC Releases Issue Brief On The LGBTQI Afghan Refugee Crisis

by HRC Staff

Read HRC's issue brief on the LGBTQI Afghan refugee crisis .

The Taliban’s August 2021 takeover of Afghanistan has led to international concerns for the safety and livelihood of vulnerable populations, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI) Afghans. Same-sex activity was already criminalized and punishable by death in the country before the Taliban took control, but the new regime’s mandate to rule with Sharia law makes the fate of LGBTQI Afghans even more precarious than before. An exodus of LGBTQI refugees has commenced and will likely expand over the next few weeks and months.

The Taliban established a deadline of August 31 for all foreign troops to withdraw, necessitating a swift response from the international community to protect the most vulnerable during this period of regime change. Canada has pledged to accept 20,000 refugees, prioritizing women and LGBTQI people among others, and Ireland also pledged to explicitly support LGBTQI and women Afghans seeking refuge. The US must take additional steps to protect refugees and ease the refugee process for LGBTQI people going forward.

HRC, along with the Council for Global Equality, Rainbow Railroad, Immigration Equality, IRAP and ORAM, developed a 10-Point Action Plan for the Biden-Harris administration that, if implemented, will save lives by protecting and expediting the refugee and asylum process for LGBTQI people seeking to leave Afghanistan in the immediate or longer term.

Read our full issue brief here.

Our 10-point action plan will save lives — and send a strong message to the Biden Administration that American leadership matters and that as a nation, we must commit to human rights and to the safety and protection of vulnerable Afghan refugees.

We urge President Biden to take these steps to protect and support LGBTQI Afghan refugees, who are extraordinarily vulnerable and at-risk under the new Taliban regime. Sign on to our statement and urge the Biden Administration to take action now!

As a woman, I will lose my freedom to study, to work, and live freely...As an LGBTQ+ member, I am not even recognized.”

Rani, a lesbian Afghan woman

Pallavi Pundir, ​​’If they Find Out I’m Gay, They Will Kill Me on the Spot’: Life Under Taliban Rule, Vice (Aug. 19, 2021)