Stonewall and Rainbow Migration urge UK government to evacuate Afghanistan’s LGBTQI+ community

BY CAITLIN CHATTERTON

The CEOs of Rainbow Migration and Stonewall have written a joint letter to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, demanding an urgent meeting to discuss the evacuation of LGBTQI+ people in Afghanistan.

The letter begins, “We are writing to you with great urgency regarding the safety and security of LGBTQ+ people in Afghanistan who have contacted us and who need protection and safe passage to the UK.”

While the government has committed to helping Afghanistan’s most vulnerable refugees, they have not explicitly included the country’s LGBTQI+ population in that promise, despite the persecution that the community faces.

The letter goes on to say, “LGBTQ+ Afghans need our support. But they will not be able to benefit from the Government’s evacuation programme unless they receive targeted support.”

Rainbow Migration and Stonewall are calling for humanitarian corridors to be set up, similar to those that helped refugees from Uganda and the former Yugoslavia. Like many other organisations, they also question the scale of the government’s resettlement plan, which currently aims to welcome just 5,000 Afghans by the end of the year.

With the Taliban in power, LGBTQI+ Afghans will be left in unspeakable danger. Gul Rahim, a Taliban judge, has informed Bild that gay men are going to be executed under the new regime, either by stoning or being buried under rubble. Many people have taken to social media to try and find routes out of the country, but an organised effort by the UK government is critical. 

Rainbow Migration and Stonewall have also asked the Foreign Secretary to take into account that LGBTQI+ refugees will not be able to easily disclose or evidence their identities.

In a post on Twitter, Stonewall suggested two ways people can help:

  1. Retweet the open letter to show your support.
  2. If you can, donate to Rainbow Railroad, an organisation working on getting LGBTQI+ people to safety.

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