Rainbow Afghanistan, a grassroots organisation that campaigns for LGBTQ rights in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, has hit out at the UN and other human rights organisations for ignoring their community in a furious open letter.
The group said it is aware of LGBTQ people who have been tortured and killed since the militant group seized power in 2021. Some have fled to surrounding countries in a desperate bid to get to safety, while others have lost their lives due to suicide.
“We believe that the world has remained silent in front of this widespread and systematic crime against humanity in Afghanistan,” Rainbow Afghanistan’s open letter reads.
“In these two years, we have documented a small part of the terrible crimes that the Taliban have committed agains the LGBTQ community in Afghanistan. Our documentary reports indicate that at least 10 members of the Afghan Rainbow community are currently in the custody of the Taliban".
The group has pleaded with the United Nations and other human rights organisations, alongside western governments, to break their silence and to support the country’s embattled LGBTQ community.
“We want to end the silence of the international community regarding these tragedies as soon as possible. We want justice for the LGBTQ community of Afghanistan to be raised and realised".
Under sharia, conviction of same-sex sexual conduct is punishable by death, flogging or imprisonment. Individual Taliban members made public statements reiterating that their interpretation of sharia includes the death penalty for homosexuality.