SI Statement on the Situation in Afghanistan

As Afghanistan returns to an acute crisis, Soroptimist International is extremely concerned about the impacts of a return to Taliban rule on women and girls. Over recent decades significant progress has been made supporting the realisation of women’s and girls’ rights in Afghanistan to the benefit of individuals, families, communities, and the country. Many young women and girls have never lived under oppressive rule – they have been free to pursue their education, careers, and ambitions. These hard-won freedoms cannot be lost and belong to all women and girls everywhere. Soroptimist International stands in solidarity with the women and girls of Afghanistan and encourages the international community to do the same.

It is clear that many Afghans are fearful of what is to come for them and their country, as shown by the distressing images of people risking everything in trying to flee their home. The people of Afghanistan have already faced over 20 years of conflict, and now are entering one of the fastest-growing humanitarian crises in the world. With drought having been declared earlier this year, the country is facing a triple threat of conflict, COVID and climate change with 18 million people already in need of humanitarian assistance and thousands of people internally displaced. As with all humanitarian crises, the international community has a responsibility to ensure all people, including women and girls, have access to safe water and sanitation facilities, food, shelter, education, and health services. SI calls for the immediate mobilisation of aid to secure these basic rights for Afghan women and girls. All countries have a responsibility to support and protect women and girls fleeing violence and extreme oppression and to fulfil this duty countries must immediately recognise the refugee status of women and girls, and implement safe, orderly, regular and legal migration routes that will keep women and girls protected from harm.

With conflict escalating, we know that there will be dramatic impacts upon women and girls who are always disproportionately impacted by conflict. Already the International Criminal Court has expressed concern about crimes in Afghanistan that may amount to violation of international humanitarian law. [1] Reports include allegations of the persecution of women and girls, crimes against children, crimes against civilians and the revenge killings of detainees and individuals who have surrendered. Further reports allege human rights abuses in Taliban-held areas, including early, child and forced marriages, house-to-house searches for “collaborators” and extrajudicial killings, all of which must be investigated and opposed. Additionally, all forms of sexual and gender-based violence must be immediately addressed, women and girls protected, and perpetrators of crimes brought to justice. Specific efforts must be made to protect women human rights defenders and other women and girls considered “collaborators” because they sought to empower others, or they pursued education and their careers.

The challenges Afghan women and girls have encountered in the past and may soon encounter again are unimaginable for many. Sadly, across the world these challenges are too common. In many countries women and girls face significant human rights abuses, and Soroptimist International has always worked to combat these human rights violations. Regardless of where these abuses happen, and who perpetrates or enables them, it is critical that these violations end immediately. We must unite to protect women and girls, and at this time particularly the women and girls of Afghanistan.


Amendment made to Statement on 25 August 2021.

7 Comments

  1. Marie Sykes 2 months ago 23rd August 2021

    As the current president of SIA of Capistrano Bay in California, I am seeking guidance from Soroptimist International. How can our members rally together to help support the women and young girls either in Afghanistan or who are refugees from Afghanistan? Please advise us as to what actions we can take to support the efforts of SIA on behalf of these women.

    REPLY
    • Christine Metcalf 4 weeks ago 18th September 2021

      SI Lincoln U.K. will stand shoulder to shoulder with other women who are still free to say the Taliban’s attitude to their women and girls cannot continue through force. The women of Afghanistan are not alone.

      REPLY
  2. Diane Kegley 2 months ago 23rd August 2021

    Fox News just interviewed one of the organizations and the email to contact the coalition helping the refugees is saveourallies.org . They will need the most help as they are moved from a temporary shelter to more permanent locations in the local community. The temporary shelters will be in VA, TX, WI and NJ per Fox News.
    You might be able to get more info at that email as to what Soroptimist can do.

    REPLY
  3. Lotta Granberg 2 months ago 23rd August 2021

    Yes we in the online-based club Calle the Swedenclub will focus on this huge problem and also on mens violence against women in Sweden in real life and Aldo online. It’s good that we all can mobilise and raise awareness!

    REPLY
    • Christine Metcalf 4 weeks ago 18th September 2021

      We have to work together.
      One voice from “the other half of the population.
      Freedom is not just for men.

      REPLY
  4. MARIE-CHRISTINE GRIES 2 months ago 24th August 2021

    As UN SI representative to UNESCO my engagement is to bring SI voice to sustain UNESCO with NGO’s community against the humanitary disaster which particularly threatens women and girls

    REPLY
  5. Tarja Tarja Haili 2 months ago 25th August 2021

    Thank you for opening this call. We would very much appreciate rapid information of through which organisation we may participate best assisting the Afghan girls and address our donations.

    It would strenghten our organisational work to push our participation through one or two channels which you in the global level have chosen.

    Please, this info is essential for us right now.

    REPLY

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