As Afghanistan marks one year since the Taliban took control, the humanitarian and human rights situation in the country is devastatingly grim, particularly for Afghan women and girls. Severe food insecurity, an economic crisis, human rights abuses targeting women and girls, and overt gender discrimination have brought Afghanistan to the brink of humanitarian collapse and eroded decades of progress towards development and gender equality. The United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan and the international community’s shift in attention and resources to the conflict in Ukraine continue to exacerbate the breakdown of safety, rights, and assistance for Afghan women and girls. As this situation further deteriorates, the U.S. must show leadership and take action to mobilize the international community to center gender equality and human rights in all diplomatic, development, peacebuilding, and humanitarian engagement in Afghanistan.
The Alliance for Peacebuilding, Futures Without Violence, the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security, Mina’s List, Refugees International, VOICE, the Women’s Refugee Commission, and Human Rights Watch came 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.
Banner Cover Photo: Taliban fighters fired into the air as they dispersed a rare rally by women who chanted “Bread, work and freedom” and marched in front of the education ministry building. Photo by Nava Jamshidi/picture alliance via Getty Images.