In August 2021, many Afghan women’s rights activists (WRAs) and women human rights defenders (WHRDs) fled Afghanistan out of fear for their safety and security under the new regime. Nearly a year later, Women for Women International and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) share a report and policy brief outlining key findings and recommendations based on research and outreach to Afghan WRAs/WHRDs that have continued their advocacy for women in Afghanistan – from all over the world. Their insights help us understand how we can support them in overcoming their personal and professional challenges as refugees and asylum seekers, as well as how to take advantage of the opportunities to support their work and leadership of the Afghan women’s rights movement.
We mapped 1,160 Afghan women human rights defenders (WHRDs) who are currently based in five geographic regions around the world and conducted follow-up focus group discussions (FGDs) and interviews with 53 of the women. The findings from our research contributes to filling the current information gap around Afghan women’s rights activists (WRAs) and WHRDs’ immediate, medium, and long-term needs in the transit and host countries where they reside, their areas of expertise and experience, and their ideas, capacities and opportunities on how to sustain the Afghan women’s movement jointly, despite being apart geographically.
Based on the experiences and perspectives shared by Afghan WRAs and WHRDs in the course of our research, we present evidence-based recommendations which pave the way for donors, policymakers, and partners to support the Afghan women’s rights movement through diplomatic efforts and future programming and projects to sustain Afghan women’s rights movements inside and outside Afghanistan.