Letter to the UN Security Council Regarding the UNSC Resolution 2721 on Afghanistan
Afghan LGBT

Letter to the UN Security Council Regarding the UNSC Resolution 2721 on Afghanistan

30 Dec 2023


To the President and Members of the United Nations Security Council:

Subject: Concerns Regarding UN Security Council Resolution 2721 on Afghanistan

Esteemed Members of the Security Council,

On December 29, 2023, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2721 on Afghanistan following the independent assessment by the UN Special Coordinator, Feridun Sinirlioğlu. We, as the Afghanistan LGBTIQ+ organization (ALO), wish to express our concerns regarding the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2721 on Afghanistan, noting that the interests and safety of LGBTIQ+ individuals are absent from the resolution.

The Afghanistan LGBTIQ+ Organization stands as an advocacy and humanitarian organization dedicated to advancing and promoting the human rights of LGBTIQ+ Afghans in Afghanistan and extending support to LGBTIQ+ asylum seekers and refugees globally. We have been actively following the situation of LGBTIQ+ people following the fall of Afghanistan in 2021 by the Taliban and have been addressing the challenges faced by LGBTIQ+ people under the Taliban’s rule.

The UN Security Council Resolution was based on the independent assessment of Afghanistan conducted by the UN Special Coordinator, an assessment that overlooked the concerns and recommendations articulated by the LGBTIQ+ community. Despite our organized virtual meeting between LGBTIQ+ Afghans and the Special Coordinator’s team on September 24th, 2023, where the LGBTIQ+ community shared invaluable perspectives and recommendations rooted in their experiences under Taliban rule, the resultant assessment report shockingly marginalized these voices. Regrettably, within the report, the only reference to LGBTIQ+ people, including the participants in the consultation, was relegated to a footnote on page 43, stating: “This breakdown of the gender of participants does not include consultation with 14 individuals during one focus group discussion on LGBTQI+ rights, who preferred that their gender not be viewed in binary terms."

The UNSC resolution 2721, reaffirmed “its support for a peaceful, stable prosperous, and inclusive Afghanistan” and “Reiterated the need to address the challenges faced by Afghanistan, including but not limited to, humanitarian, human rights and especially the rights of women and girls, religious and ethnic minorities”.  While we endorse the emphasis on fostering a peaceful and stable Afghanistan and addressing its challenges, we are disheartened and alarmed by the absence of the LGBTIQ+ community from the attention of the UNSC resolution once again.

By excluding LGBTQ people, the UN failed to represent one of the most marginalized groups in Afghanistan, and it sent a signal that certain voices are less important to be considered. The complete absence of LGBTIQ people in the resolution and the assessment report continues the cycle of exclusion, neglect, and discrimination against the LGBTIQ community that faces significant challenges. We cannot achieve inclusive and enduring peace and security in Afghanistan when a certain group of people has been marginalized and neglected.

The UNSC resolution emphasizes “the importance of the full, equal, meaningful, and safe participation of women” While we strongly endorse this sentiment, we wish to underscore the vital importance of the inclusion of LGBTIQ+ Afghans in peace-building and peace-making efforts as well. According to UN Security Council resolution 1325 and the Women, Peace and Security agenda that grew out of this resolution, governments are obligated to take steps to ensure that women and girls benefit from conflict prevention, protection, and participation in peacebuilding efforts. This includes lesbian, bisexual, and trans women and girls. Because LGBTIQ people and women in Afghanistan experience violence due to the same root causes, related to patriarchy, these forms of gender-based violence should be addressed holistically.

The resolution encourages member states and all other relevant stakeholders to consider the independent assessment and its recommendations, especially increasing “international engagement” with the Taliban. We are profoundly concerned with the emphasis of the resolution on the “increase of international engagement” with the Taliban without considering the principle of accountability. The Taliban must be held accountable by the international community for the systematic persecution and violence against LGBTIQ+ people and women in Afghanistan. We fear that the resolution’s recommendations of “increasing international engagement” embolden the Taliban as it seeks recognition and legitimacy. Any engagement by the international community must be done in a way that ensures the human rights of LGBTIQ people and women are fully respected and protected and any engagement with the Taliban without accountability is condemned.

While we support the UN Security Council’s request for the Secretary-General to appoint a Special Envoy for Afghanistan, we advocate for the Special Envoy to possess a robust background in human rights, particularly in LGBTIQ+ and women’s rights. Over the past two years, we have witnessed vocal voices of LGBTIQ+ being ignored and blocked, and the diversity of Afghanistan is not respected in engagements, meetings, and gatherings. Consequently, we urge the Special Envoy to promote and uphold the human rights of LGBTIQ+ individuals by amplifying their voices.

We urge the UN Security Council to recognize the systematic violence and persecution against LGBTIQ+ people in Afghanistan and their immediate need for the inclusion of LGBTIQ+ people in peace-building and peace-making efforts for the future of Afghanistan. We respectfully request the UN Security Council to ensure the inclusion of LGBTIQ+ people in future resolutions on Afghanistan. Additionally, we ask the Security Council to consider our recommendations seriously, working towards a more comprehensive and inclusive approach to address the need and protection of LGBTIQ+ individuals in Afghanistan.


Artemis Akbary

Executive Director of Afghanistan LGBTIQ+ Organization (ALO)


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