Urgent Call for Protection of Human Rights Defenders in Afghanistan


After the collapse of the Afghanistan government, the country became more dangerous for human rights defenders and civil society actors. Now, as heavily armed Taliban militants took over the power in Afghanistan on Sunday, 15th August, the situation for Afghan human rights defenders’ lives is at stake. 

Unfortunately, the circumstances for human rights defenders are more hazardous than it was. According to the information compiled by the Afghan Human Rights Defenders Committee (AHRDC), in the first five months of 2021, nine human rights defenders were already killed. Recently, the vulnerability of human rights defenders will worsen further as the Taliban have taken control. 

While the attacks on and killings of human rights defenders were exceptionally worrying before the Taliban’s control, we are afraid that the threats, harassment, intimidation and attacks against human rights defenders and activists in Afghanistan may increase unless international organizations take necessary measures. It is vital to support and prioritize creating a safe space for human rights defenders, especially women rights defenders. Given that the Taliban poses profound threats to human rights defenders, life in Afghanistan for human rights defenders has become impossible. They need immediate attention of the international community’s awareness and protection. 

We call on the international organizations and states to take immediate actions under the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders to protect human rights defenders whose lives are in danger by providing them with safe spaces. We also urge the states to stop deportation procedures of Afghan human rights defenders whose lives are at risk and subject to torture and other cruel treatment in Taliban’s Afghanistan. Therefore, we request all parties to respect the international human rights law and prioritize compliance with international human rights instruments and implement them, protecting the rights of human rights defenders.

Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT)


Photo: UNHCR