The Crisis in Afghanistan
On the one year anniversary of Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan, the humanitarian crisis is in dire straits and the future looks increasingly grim for Afghan women and girls. The decades of progress toward development and gender equality have given way to food insecurity, economic crisis, and human rights abuses targeting women and girls. With half of Afghanistan’s population under imminent threat of being erased, again, and a nation on the brink of humanitarian collapse, the international community, with the US leadership, must respond with deliberate urgency.
In a new policy brief, Futures Without Violence, along with the Alliance for Peacebuilding, the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security, Human Rights Watch, Mina’s List, Refugees International, VOICE, and the Women’s Refugee Commission, have come together to draft this brief and urge the following actions:
- Full restoration of women and girl’s rights, including their right to education, employment, movement, participation in public life, and freedom from violence;
- Accountability for Afghan women’s rights as part of diplomatic engagement with the Taliban;
- Equitable and non-discriminatory distribution of humanitarian aid, including ensuring that relief services reach Afghan women and girls;
- Urgently addressing the economic crisis that threatens the collapse of the Afghan economy;
- Direct and flexible funding to Afghan women’s rights organizations and Afghan women leaders to continue critical functions;
- Ensure the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has the leadership and political support to implement the gender components of its mandate;
- Expansion of evacuation and resettlement for Afghan women human rights defenders and other at-risk or marginalized groups, such as Hazara women and LGBTI individuals.
Read our full recommendations in the Futures In the Balance Brief, here.
With the withdrawal of the U.S. presence and the lack of contingency and evacuation plans for vulnerable citizens, Afghan women and girls are fearful for their lives, their safety, and the future of their hard-fought gains in demanding respect for their human rights.
This page contains resources as the humanitarian crisis unfolds, how to help including where to donate, and what the Global Gender-Based Violence Coalition asks of the Administration.
Global Gender-Based Violence Coalition Letter
Helpful Articles and Op-Eds with Action Items
Opinion: Here are four concrete actions the U.S. should take immediately to help Afghan women activists
Deepa Shivaram, National Public Radio
Here are some tangible ways to take action and support the lives of women, girls and those impacted in Afghanistan by the take-over of the Taliban.
This PDF put together by Alliance for Peacebuilding contains resources for those seeking to assist Afghan refugees entering the US and fundraising opportunities to address the humanitarian response in-country. Please read to find state and city specific efforts for how you can help.
The U.S. Government has the power and means to support Afghan women and girls, including keeping the most targeted amongst them from harm. As the Biden Administration responds to the immediate need to evacuate vulnerable Afghans and the growing humanitarian crisis building within Afghanistan’s borders, we urge the following actions:
- Prioritize the urgent evacuation of women’s rights defenders, particularly those already being targeted for harassment, abuse, and violence.
- Support and fund the work of Afghan women human rights defenders and peacebuilders, including through mechanisms such as the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund.
- Ensure GBV prevention and response is integrated into humanitarian response plans, including mitigating the risks of child, early and forced marriage; trafficking; and intimate partner violence.
- Help secure shelters serving survivors of domestic violence, rape, and other forms of GBV, and ensure the privacy and protection of their residents, including providing robust funding for GBV services.
- Hold the Taliban publicly accountable for violations of international humanitarian law and human rights abuses, including gender-based violence.
- Ensure paths to seeking asylum are fully open to Afghan citizens and that durable solutions based on the wishes and needs of Afghan refugees are prioritized, including for women and girls particularly at risk of GBV
Here are 4 actions the U.S. Government can take today to ensure Afghan women at risk due to their US affiliation can find refuge, you can retweet here with a link to our GBV Letter and topline asks of the US Government:
- Charter direct evacuation flights to the United States for Afghan women activists most imminently under threat. Already, too many have died in Taliban assassination campaigns.
- Direct a significant portion of the $1.125 billion appropriated for Afghan refugees in the Emergency Security Supplemental Appropriations Act passed on July 30 to ensure the P2 program is strongly implemented and functional. This should include some of the $100 million that President Biden authorized for “persons at risk as a result of the situation in Afghanistan,” for livelihood assistance for women activists who manage to relocate.
- Establish a special parole program for at-risk Afghan women human rights defenders, women’s rights activists, and women politicians, journalists, and other highly visible women leaders being targeted by the Taliban based on their refusal to conform to Taliban-dictated gender norms.
- Immediately establish a high-level Interagency Refugee Coordinator to manage refugee processing and relocation across the U.S. government.
Donate to and Support Organizations on the Ground
DONATE & SECURE SAFETY
- ACTION: Donate here. Stephanie Sinclair, photojournalist and founder of the nonprofit Too Young To Wed (TYTW) is currently working to arrange the safe evacuation of 31 high-risk female Afghan journalists, activists, and their families, taking care to keep them together as much as possible during the arduous asylum process. Among the individuals are an infant, a toddler, schoolgirls, translators, television reporters, humanitarian aid workers, and an author who has written several books on Taliban rule and its repercussions for women’s rights. One advocate was beaten by the Taliban while pregnant with twin boys during Taliban rule, resulting in the stillbirth of both babies. bit.ly/3geYY1b
SUPPORT AFGHAN JOURNALISTS
The Taliban is attempting to silence half of the country’s population – permanently and without mercy. Listed below are vetted organizations that support journalists under threat. *100% of donations goes to: shelters and safehouses where journalists can take cover; food, clothes, blankets, and other utilities for journalists and their families; ongoing support to keep as many independent media outlets as possible.*
- International Women’s Media Association. Donate directly to women journalists in need in the country and attempting to flee. http://bit.ly/IWMF-Afghanistan
- Urgent Action Fund: brave, resilient human rights defenders on the frontlines before, during, and after crises.https://bit.ly/UAF_Afghanistan
- Rukhshana Media (Twitter @RukhshanaMedia), a journalist group staffed by Afghan women who produce news from the perspective of women. Rukshana Media is named after the woman who was stoned to death by the Taliban in 2015.
REFUGEE ORGANIZATIONS to donate to:
UNHRC (The UN Refugee Agency)
Choose Love, Buy essential kits and bundles for refugees.
Women for Women International – Emergency Relief for Afghanistan women (provide women with critical hygiene kits
SUPPORT AFGHAN GIRLS AND WOMEN
- Vital Voices is ramping up efforts to support Afghan women through their Voices Against Violence Initiative and Urgent Assistance Fund to get immediate support to women activists in Afghanistan on the frontlines of change and to ensure that survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) and harmful practices have better access to services, protection and the justice they deserve.
- Women’s Regional Network – We are seeking support to protect the lives of Afghan women and their families. This support will come in the form of humanitarian assistance to Afghan women and their children as they seek to leave the country, and security while in Afghanistan.
Help support resettlement efforts (VA, DC, Seattle, Houston, Fort Worth) – airport pickups, apartment setups, and basic needs for Afghans – https://lssnca.org/take_action/afghan-allies.html
STORIES AND VOICES ON THE GROUND
- Here are a list of people from the Afghanistan community who are sharing their stories: @sincerelynooria@shabnamnasimi @nee1o@theafghan@burqasandbeer @hazara.gram, Pulitzer prize winning photojournalist and author: @lynseyaddario
- Opinion: Listen to the voices of Afghan women by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon @washingtonpost , https://wapo.st/3CPezhH
We would like to thank Feed our Democracy for providing some of the recommended resources listed above.