Press Release

Date: Feb. 15, 2022
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Foreign Affairs

Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Congressman André Carson (IN-07) today announced the introduction of a bicameral resolution expressing solidarity with and reaffirming the dire need to protect vulnerable and minority populations and their allies in Afghanistan under Taliban rule, including women and children, religious and ethnic minorities, and members of the LGBTQI community. Reports have shown that Taliban fighters have limited educational and professional opportunities for women and have engaged in intimidation and forced disappearance of women's rights activists. Members of the Taliban are seeking out religious and ethnic minorities for abuse, have threatened Afghan journalists with violence, and continue to target LGBTQI individuals, often forcing them into hiding due to fear of threats and attacks. Reports indicate that the rule of law and protection of human rights is rapidly deteriorating under the Taliban as they target judges, prosecutors, lawyers, human rights defenders, journalists, former parliamentarians, and individuals who advocate for human rights and the rule of law, particularly women. The rapidly deteriorating human rights conditions in the country are exacerbated by the worsening humanitarian crisis, by which vulnerable and minority communities are disproportionately impacted.

The resolution introduced today calls on the Biden Administration to work closely with the international community and nongovernmental organizations to support at-risk Afghan communities, including through efforts to counter the growing humanitarian crisis that unduly impacts already vulnerable groups.

"After a twenty-year presence in the country, the United States has a responsibility to ensure that minority and vulnerable communities in Afghanistan can live in safety, with dignity, and with protections for their universal human rights. The growing humanitarian crisis will disproportionately impact already-vulnerable communities and the United States must lead the effort in calling for the protection of these populations who have no representation or support under the rule of the Taliban. Women, religious and ethnic minorities, and members of the LGBTQI community in particular, now live their lives in fear of violence or being persecuted," said Senator Markey. "I am proud to lead this resolution in the Senate to reaffirm the dire need to protect vulnerable and minority populations and their allies in Afghanistan."

"Though our military mission in Afghanistan has ended, we cannot abandon the Afghan people; we have a moral obligation to support them. I am honored to join Senator Markey in reaffirming America's commitment to protecting vulnerable communities in Afghanistan. Despite promises to the contrary, the Taliban leadership has reinstituted many of the draconian measures that characterized their previous rule. We cannot turn our back on the Afghans who are at great risk under Taliban rule, or the international standards on human rights our country has helped establish. If passed, our resolution will strengthen America's diplomatic and humanitarian efforts on behalf of these individuals, and we can help save and improve countless lives. There's no time to waste, so we must get this passed as soon as possible," said Congressman Carson.