In a stark plea for justice, Rainbow Afghanistan, an LGBTQ+ rights group in Afghanistan, is condemning what they see as the international community’s acceptance of Taliban rule as a “betrayal of humanity.” The group is now calling upon the United Nations, human rights organizations, and countries claiming to support human rights to take action.
Since the Taliban’s return to power two years ago, the queer community in Afghanistan has faced a litany of abuses. The Taliban’s commitment to fully enforce Sharia law has resulted in a horrifying crackdown on LGBTQ+ life. This includes hunting down, torturing, and publicly executing LGBTQ+ individuals. The Taliban wasted no time in reestablishing Sharia law upon regaining control of the country in 2021.
Taliban judges have publicly stated that “for homosexuals, there can only be two punishments: either stoning, or he must stand behind a wall that will fall down on him.” Tragically, LGBTQ+ community members have been mysteriously killed or disappeared, arrested, tortured, and sexually assaulted in prisons, with many being stoned to death in distant provinces. Suicides among LGBTQ+ individuals, including lesbians and transgender women forcibly married against their will, have also risen dramatically.
Rainbow Afghanistan’s letter decries the world’s silence in the face of “widespread and systematic crime against humanity.” The group highlights the abduction of at least ten members of their organization by the Taliban and reveals the existence of “private prisons for members of the LGBT community” in various Afghan provinces. Shockingly, the group has found evidence of transgender individuals under 19 being transferred to these prisons, where they endure torture and sexual assault.
Additionally, LGBTQ+ individuals have been forced to flee Afghanistan into neighboring countries like Pakistan, Iran, and Turkey, where they continue to face similar abuses at the hands of authorities. The group emphasizes the perilous conditions and the criminalization of non-binary identities in these countries, leaving LGBTQ+ individuals vulnerable to deportation back to Afghanistan.
Rainbow Afghanistan’s impassioned plea demands action from the United Nations, human rights organizations, and nations worldwide. They urge for the investigation and documentation of countless crimes against the LGBTQ+ community in Afghanistan, with the perpetrators held accountable in independent courts. The organization calls on the international community to break its silence and ensure justice for the LGBTQ+ community in Afghanistan is realized.
As the world grapples with these urgent concerns, the LGBTQ+ community in Afghanistan continues to endure a harrowing struggle for their basic rights and safety in the face of adversity.