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Canadian Council of Muslim Women’s Statement: Chaos in Afghanistan as Taliban Take Over

Wednesday 18 August 2021, by siawi3


Canadian Council of Muslim Women’s Statement: Chaos in Afghanistan as Taliban Take Over


CCMW is deeply concerned by the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. Taliban fighters have been gaining ground and capturing large swathes of the country over the past few months.

They swept into Kabul unopposed and have seized the presidential palace. The whole country is now effectively controlled by the group almost 20 years after they were ousted. According to latest reports, there is chaos at Kabul airport and several people have been killed as Afghans flee following the Taliban’s takeover of the country.

Our hearts are heavy with this news and what it means for the people of Afghanistan, particularly women and children.

Decades of war, conflict and political and economic instability, have resulted in the continued and sustained dispossession of women and children in Afghanistan. The crisis now directly threatens their rights to a dignified life, liberty, education, employment and livelihood. 80% of Afghans who have been forced to flee their homes are women and children. The Taliban is also deliberating targeting these groups and there have been widespread reports of rapes, torture, extrajudicial executions, attacks on women and forced marriages of girls to Taliban soldiers in areas controlled by Taliban forces. These are shocking figures and CCMW is raising the alarm about the disproportionate toll women and children are paying for what is happening on the ground in Afghanistan.

We are horrified at the injustices and harm already experienced by the Afghan people, and even more so in these last few weeks. We stand in full solidarity with the people of Afghanistan, particularly with Afghan women and girls, who are paying the price of the policies and interests of international powers.

CCMW is heartened by the Canadian government’s recent decision to accept 20,000 Afghan refugees, prioritizing the most vulnerable women leaders and human rights defenders. We have already signed on to joint letters of concern for human security and rights in Afghanistan to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. We reiterate our appeals in these letters and call upon the Prime Minister and his Cabinet, to lead Canada to do everything in its power to prevent the carnage looming over Afghanistan. The situation calls for urgent action, without a moment to lose, and we are asking the Government of Canada to:

Expand the number of refugees beyond 20,000 and include those who are internally displaced or endangered within Afghanistan

Work with the UNHCR and Canadian aid agencies to address the immediate humanitarian needs of the Afghan people by introducing a matching donations program and increase aid on the ground urgently.

Implement mass evacuations from Afghanistan, particularly those who are most vulnerable to Taliban brutality. Canada has done this before when it evacuated hundreds of people from Kosovo on a daily basis.

Stop deportations of Afghans seeking asylum in Canada.

Enable Canadians to sponsor refugees more easily by altering current requirements for sponsors.

The next few weeks could be decisive. CCMW is also calling on the United Nations Security Council and international human rights mechanisms to respond with a greater sense of urgency to prevent a catastrophe. We are calling on the Council to set aside differences and reinvigorate peace talks and negotiations to bring about a permanent ceasefire and an immediate cessation of violence by using all the tools at its disposal.

CCMW is also urging the international community to step up its response to the Afghanistan displacement crisis and to keep their borders open to ensure safe passage to fleeing refugees. We appeal to donor countries not to abandon Afghanistan, and ask donors, both individuals and organizations, to support the efforts of aid organizations that are providing relief and humanitarian services in Afghanistan. We urge international human rights and women’s movements and their supporters to lobby their governments and write/email to their political representatives urging action.

The crisis in Afghanistan is a defining test of the Feminist International Assistance Policy and we urge the Prime Minister to act swiftly so that the progress won on the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan is not lost. Let’s seize this opportunity to demonstrate leadership within the international community when it is most needed. We are joining our voices once again to call upon you to take action on Canadian values and promises in order to protect human rights and lives and freedoms in Afghanistan. Let’s send a loud and clear message to the people of Afghanistan, especially to Afghan women and children - that we are with them, and we will continue to support them in realizing their aspirations for a peaceful and prosperous future.

In the coming days, we will be providing further information on how we can all help protect and save Afghan lives.

In Solidarity,