In a poignant plea to the United Nations, LGBTQ+ Afghans are urgently calling for an investigation into the horrifying acts of murder, rape, and persecution perpetrated against their community by the Taliban. Rainbow Afghanistan, a grassroots organization advocating for LGBTQ+ rights within Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, has expressed deep frustration in an open letter, accusing the UN and other human rights organizations of overlooking their community’s plight.
Since the militant group seized power in 2021, Rainbow Afghanistan has documented distressing instances of torture and murder of LGBTQ+ individuals. Some have resorted to fleeing to neighboring countries in desperate attempts to find safety, while others tragically lost their lives to suicide. Additionally, transgender women and lesbians have been forcibly married against their will, and some have been imprisoned by the Taliban solely because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Silent Witnesses to Systematic Crimes
Rainbow Afghanistan’s open letter asserts, “We believe that the world has remained silent in front of this widespread and systematic crime against humanity in Afghanistan.” They have meticulously documented just a fraction of the atrocities committed against the LGBTQ+ community by the Taliban and highlight that at least 10 members of the Afghan Rainbow community remain in the custody of the militant group.
The LGBTQ+ activists in Afghanistan have persistently attempted to raise their voices on behalf of their marginalized community, but it seems the world has turned a blind eye and deaf ear to their pleas.
Demanding Justice and Accountability
Rainbow Afghanistan passionately implores the United Nations, human rights organizations, and Western governments to break their silence and offer support to Afghanistan’s embattled LGBTQ+ community. They insist on ending the silence surrounding these tragic events, seeking justice for the LGBTQ+ community, and calling for an independent investigation into the countless crimes committed by the Taliban.
The organization firmly believes that the gender apartheid and inhumane actions unfolding in Afghanistan serve as stark examples of grave human rights violations. They conclude their letter by beseeching the UN to investigate the Taliban’s crimes against the LGBTQ+ community and hold the perpetrators accountable.
Rainbow Afghanistan also calls for the international community to cease tolerating the Taliban in any form, emphasizing that it constitutes a betrayal of humanity and contradicts the fundamental principles of the Charter of Human Rights.
This appeal follows two painful years for Afghanistan’s LGBTQ+ community, who found themselves in immediate danger when the Taliban took control of Kabul in August 2021. Overnight, queer Afghans became primary targets, with reports of rape and murder circulating widely. Many were forced into hiding or fled the country in search of safety.