Stonewall, in conjunction with ILGA Asia, has released a new Afghanistan Briefing Paper with the aim to “amplify the experiences of the LGBTQ+ people in Afghanistan”.

On 3 October, Stonewall took to Twitter to announce that: “Two years on from the Taliban retaking power, we’ve launched a new briefing with @ILGAAsia on LGBTIQ experiences in Afghanistan, and how we can continue to support those in need. We share our recommendations for govts, the UN, & civil society.”

The briefing document is centred on the theme “too many to be given safe passage, too few to be part of humanitarian response.” The paper provides an overview of the discrimination and violence faced by LGBTQIA+ people and the steps necessary to address these concerns.

The ongoing difficulties of LGBTQIA+ people have been well documented since the Taliban took control in 2021, with reports of acts of violence and discrimination based on individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. This includes honour-crimes, forced marriages and restrictions to employment, health services and education.

In Afghanistan same-sex relationships are criminalised. The report presents the case study of an Afghan lesbian woman, who said last May: “When the Taliban came to power, I was renting an apartment with my girlfriend. Suddenly, the landlord decided to kick us out and he threw me and my girlfriend on the streets because the Taliban declared that girls are not allowed to live without men in the house. [The landlord] just threw us out without prior notice and threatened us to leave or he would report us.

“We had no choice even though we did not have any place to go … we were even in more danger because we were lesbians and had no man with us. If the Taliban had found out about us, they were going to kill us; it was the biggest fear of my life.”

The report continues to demonstrate the research undertaken by SAFAR. Since the Taliban came into power, they’ve imposed an interpretation of Islamic law and re-introduced the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice to enforce conservative values. People are forced to flee, despite the lack of safe passage and an increased risk of experiencing further persecution.

Stonewall have outlined proposed next steps for action: “We ask the UN to establish and implement programmes specifically tailored to the needs of LGBTIQ individuals in Afghanistan, considering their unique protection concerns, in keeping with international human rights and humanitarian standards of non-discrimination.”

“We recommend that civil society and humanitarian actors offer capacity building support to local organisations, empowering them to lead and implement initiatives that directly benefit LGBTIQ communities,” Stonewall added.

“… And to develop safeguarding principles and practices to work securely with any data or information about the sexual orientation or gender identity of LGBTIQ people and their families, in light of the violence they face.”