Just.Equal Australia has urged the Australian Government to provide refuge for LGBTIQA+ Afghans facing persecution under the Taliban regime. The call follows reports from Rainbow Railroad of Taliban LGBT kill lists circulating in Afghanistan.
The Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until overthrown by an American invasion following the September 11 attacks. The religious fundamentalists then waged relentless guerilla warfare against subsequent American backed governments. They swept back to power in August 2021 following the withdrawal of American troops.
Currently, the Taliban regime presides over an impoverished nation with an estimated 675,000 displaced persons. The United Nation’s World Food Program estimates more than 22 million people will face acute food insecurity in the coming year. Currently, drought affects 25 of 34 provinces, the economy is also collapsing and yet, the fundamentalists have taken few steps to install a functional system of governance.
But the religious extremists do make time to compile LGBT kill lists.
LGBT kill lists
Rainbow Railroad helps LGBTQI+ people worldwide escape state-sponsored violence. It continues to assist on the ground in Afghanistan.
Executive Director Kimahli Powell spoke to FRANCE 24 about the LGBT kill lists.
“We now know for sure the Taliban has ‘kill lists’ circulating, identifying LBTQI+ persons.”
Powell said the Taliban drew up the kill lists by noting the names of people foreign rights groups attempted to evacuate. He said they then complemented the lists via entrapment activity and data leaks.
Just.Equal President, Ivan Hinton-Teoh, wrote to the Home Affairs Minister asking that Australia offer refuge to LGBTIQA Afghans. He referred Karen Andrews to the example of the UK which earlier granted refuge to 29 LGBTIQA Afghans.
“According to news reports, the Taliban has an LGBTIQA hit-list and many LGBTIQA+ Afghans fear for their lives.
“As one of the countries that invaded Afghanistan in the name of freedom, Australia must now fulfil that promise to LGBTIQA+ Afghans.”
Mr Hinton-Teoh cited the case of transgender woman, Nur Sajat. The Australian Government recently granted her asylum after she fled sharia law in Malaysia.
“We welcome the Australian Government’s decision in Nur Sajat’s case and urge it to extend the same humanitarian principle to LGBTIQA+ Afghans.”