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MADRE Launches Vital Resource Tools for Afghan Women Human Rights Defenders

Pashto | Dari

MADRE, as part of our work within the Afghanistan Human Rights Coordination Mechanism, has launched two new resources for Afghan women/human rights defenders (W/HDRs) in an effort to support the gender justice movement in Afghanistan, enhance their capacity to document human rights violations, and increase understanding of the process of crossing borders.

Afghan women workshop together

Crossing Borders: A guide for Afghan Women/Human Rights Defenders

Afghan women/human rights defenders continue to face life-threatening risks under the Taliban regime, and many have no option but to leave the country for their safety. To that end, MADRE has produced a guide that compiles publicly available information intended to enhance understanding of the process of crossing borders for Afghan women/human rights defenders. The guide also includes existing publicly available resources to support those seeking to flee as they begin the process and plan their departure in the current context. The guide features suggestions on what documents are useful when crossing a border, tips on avoiding fraud and scams linked to immigration procedures, tips on how to protect electronic data, and trusted resources for information and support for threatened Afghan HRDs.

August 2022 marked one year since the Taliban violently overtook Afghanistan after 20 years of U.S. invasion and occupation. Countries receiving refugees are not opening their doors quickly enough for those at risk of violence or persecution, who are forced to flee Afghanistan. Transit countries’ complex and changing visa and entry rules also create hardships. The situation is particularly challenging for W/HRDs who remain in Afghanistan, since the Taliban’s imposition of mahram (male guardian) rules add additional barriers to leaving the country. Despite all of these obstacles, human rights defenders still need to flee to protect themselves and their families. This guide, therefore, provides basic information and resources for those who find themselves in that situation.

If you are aware of any resources from non-governmental organizations or of humanitarian parole, resettlement, and other government programs currently available for W/HRDs, please inform us by emailing to so that we can include them in updated versions of the guide.

Documenting and Reporting Gender-Based Violence in Afghanistan: A Human Rights-Based Approach

The voices of women, of LGBTIQ persons, and of members of other groups that historically face discrimination are often silenced or condemned in society, and the violence they face and the discrimination underlying that violence often go unrecognized in the transitional justice processes that are meant to transform societies. To change that, activists need facts. Documenting gender-based violence helps gather those facts so that human rights defenders can share these facts and analysis with larger audiences, in order to support women and marginalized groups access justice and end the cycle of violence in their communities.

In furtherance of these goals, MADRE has produced a manual to support Afghan women/human rights defenders who are conducting documentation efforts in Afghanistan and reporting human rights violations to justice mechanisms. The manual utilizes a human rights-based approach to provide recommendations for maintaining safety and security throughout the documentation process, and provides information on international mechanisms and experts to which Afghan WHRDs can report their findings and to which they can share their priorities. This manual aims to contribute to the Afghan women’s rights movement as a tool to challenge entrenched discrimination.

If you find that you or your organization cannot safely store information or documentation, MADRE and other organizations can help you access safe storage. To discuss this with MADRE, please email in English, Dari, or Pashto.

Afghan women in protest

MADRE continues to stand in solidarity with Afghan women and pro-peace feminists as we work with our grassroots partners in Afghanistan to ensure that the immediate needs of Afghan W/HRDs are met and that their voices are heard by the international community.

Relocation Guide

Resource Manual

September 28, 2022