LGBTQ+ Afghans are pleading with the United Nations to investigate the murder, rape and persecution inflicted upon them by the Taliban.
Rainbow Afghanistan, a grassroots organisation that campaigns for LGBTQ+ rights in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, has hit out at the UN and other human rights organisations for ignoring their community in a furious open letter.
The group said it is aware of LGBTQ+ people who have been tortured and killed since the militant group seized power in 2021. Some have fled to surrounding countries in a desperate bid to get to safety, while others have “lost their lives due to suicide”, Rainbow Afghanistan said.
Meanwhile, some trans women and lesbians have been forced into marriage against their will, while others have been imprisoned by the Taliban due to their sexual orientation or gender identity, the group claimed.
“We believe that the world has remained silent in front of this widespread and systematic crime against humanity in Afghanistan,” Rainbow Afghanistan’s open letter reads.
“In these two years, we have documented a small part of the terrible crimes that the Taliban have committed agains the LGBTIQ community in Afghanistan.
“Our documentary reports indicate that at least 10 member of the Afghan Rainbow community are currently in the custody of the Taliban.
LGBTQ+ Afghans want justice
The group has pleaded with the United Nations and other human rights organisations, alongside western governments, to break their silence and to support the country’s embattled LGBTQ+ community.
“We want to end the silence of the international community regarding these tragedies as soon as possible. We want justice for the LGBT community of Afghanistan to be raised and realised.
“We want the countless crimes of the Taliban against the LGBTQ community in Afghanistan to be investigated and documented and its perpetrators should be held accountable in independent courts, and human rights, as stated in its charter, should not be limited to geographic boundaries, gender identities, and certain social groups.”
The group added: “We believe that what is happening in Afghanistan is a clear example of gender apartheid and human crime.”
Closing out its letter, Rainbow Afghanistan asked the UN to “investigate the Taliban’s crimes against the LGBT community in Afghanistan and make the perpetrators of this crime accountable”.
They also asked officials to stop “tolerating the Taliban in any form and level, because this is a betrayal of humanity and in clear contradiction with the basic provisions of the Charter of Human Rights.”
The full open letter can be read and signed here.
Rainbow Afghanistan’s intervention comes after a painful two years for the country’s queer community.
There was immediate fear among LGBTQ+ Afghans when Kabul fell to the Taliban as the United States withdrew from the country in August 2021.
Overnight, queer Afghans became one of the Taliban’s primary targets. Reports immediately started circulating about the rape and murder of LGBTQ+ people. Many went into hiding or fled abroad.
PinkNews has contacted the United Nations for comment.
Rape Crisis England and Wales works towards the elimination of sexual violence. If you’ve been affected by the issues raised in this story, you can access more information on their website or by calling the National Rape Crisis Helpline on 0808 802 9999. Rape Crisis Scotland’s helpline number is 08088 01 03 02.
Readers in the US are encouraged to contact RAINN, or the National Sexual Assault Hotline on 800-656-4673.
Suicide is preventable. Readers who are affected by the issues raised in this story are encouraged to contact Samaritans on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org), or Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk). Readers in the US are encouraged to contact the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255.
by Patrick Kelleher
Source – PinkNews