WILPF Australia calls for safe passage for Afghani women human rights defenders

Afghani women human rights defenders in Afghanistan continue to be in grave danger, with their lives at immediate risk.

WILPF called on the Australian Government to provide expedited safe passage and asylum for Afghani women human rights defenders and their dependents, and for them to be given priority for refugee visas.

Calls were sent to the Ministers for Foreign Affairs (Minister Payne), Defence (Minister Dutton) and Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs (Minister Hawke) to ensure that Afghani women human rights defenders are assisted to safety.

Below, the letter from the WILPF Australia President Margaret Reynolds to the Minister for Foreign Affairs.


Minister for Foreign Affairs
Minister for Women
Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Minister,

We have watched in alarm as the Taliban have taken over Afghanistan in the past 10 days. As the oldest women’s peace organisation in the world, and a steadfastly strong supporter of human rights, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) Australia is gravely concerned for the well-being and safety of all Afghans, especially women human rights defenders, journalists, and others who are specifically targeted for their work and identity.

Many of these women are known to and have worked closely with the Australian government and Australian organisations, in aiding the people of Afghanistan. As Australians, we believe we have a responsibility to stand with Afghan citizens by providing protection, support and shelter to those citizens who are likely to be persecuted by the new regime.

We know that you are already leading an emergency mission on behalf of the Australian Government to evacuate Australian citizens and diplomats from Kabul. We also know that Australia’s aid program in Afghanistan has been dedicated to ending violence against women. The Individuals and their families who have worked with these programs are now in grave danger. WILPF asks that you consider providing expedited safe passage and asylum for the above Afghans and their dependents whose lives are at immediate risk. They need to be given priority in the issuance of refugee visas. Their contribution to community resilience will be invaluable to the Australian community.

As advocates for peace and security, WILPF looks to the Australian government to uphold its international human rights obligations, including ensuring safe asylum for all Afghans who have worked ceaselessly over the past 20 years to better human rights for their fellow citizens.

Thank you for your consideration.

Yours sincerely
Margaret Reynolds
WILPF Australia

18 August 2021