LGBT Afghans and people who do not conform to rigid gender norms in Afghanistan have faced an increasingly desperate situation and grave threats to their safety and lives under the Taliban, Human Rights Watch and OutRight Action International said in a report..
The report, titled «‘Even If You Go to the Skies, We’ll Find You’: LGBT People in Afghanistan After the Taliban Takeover», is based on interviews with LGBT Afghans.
Many reported that Taliban members attacked or threatened them because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Others reported abuse from family members, neighbours, and romantic partners who now support the Taliban or believed they had to act against LGBT people close to them to ensure their own safety.
Some fled their homes from attacks by Taliban members or supporters pursuing them. Others watched lives they had carefully built over the years disappear overnight and found themselves at risk of being targeted at any time because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The Taliban consider that homosexuality is against Sharia Islamic law. A Taliban judge told once: “For homosexuals, there can only be two punishments: either stoning, or he must stand behind a wall that will fall down on him.” A manual issued by the Taliban’s Ministry of Vice and Virtue in 2020 states that religious leaders shall prohibit same-sex relations and the allegations of homosexuality shall be referred to the ministry’s district manager for adjudication and punishment.
Despite making repeated pledges to respect human rights, the Taliban have engaged in widespread rights abuses since retaking control of the country, including revenge killings, systematic discrimination against women and girls, severe restrictions on freedom of expression and the media, and land grabbing.
The danger now facing LGBT people in Afghanistan, in an environment devoid of legal protections and under authorities that have explicitly pledged not to tolerate LGBT people, is very grave. A tragedy for them and a shame for us!
Read the report here