With US-led Coalition Forces officially withdrawn from Afghanistan at the end of August, and as the Taliban establishes a new government, many have declared that the “War is Over.” International Detention Coalition (IDC) stands with Afghan community leaders, particularly Afghan women, girls and LGBTIQ+ leaders, along with human rights organisations around the world, who recognise that the experience of war continues for tens of millions of Afghan people and their loved ones.

Exacerbating this experience for those who attempt to seek safety outside of Afghanistan is the potential of being detained and deprived of liberty in the very places they hoped would provide them with sanctuary. Immigration detention is too often used by governments in an effort to dissuade future arrivals, despite the fact that there is no evidence to show that detention has a deterrence effect. IDC and its members bear witness every day to the devastating and long-term human impact of immigration detention on the physical safety, mental health and wellbeing of individuals, families and whole communities. IDC calls on all governments to ensure respect for the human rights of Afghan people who have fled their country. This includes a commitment to non-detention, as well as implementation of rights-based, community-based, and engagement-based alternatives to detention (ATD) where relevant. 

IDC echoes the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Position on Returns to Afghanistan, and its call for all governments to “suspend the forcible return of nationals and former habitual residents of Afghanistan, including those who have had their asylum claims rejected.” IDC urges all governments to adhere to this moratorium on forced returns to Afghanistan, and further believes that throughout this moratorium no Afghan people should be detained for deportation in immigration detention anywhere in the world. IDC also supports the UNHCR call for all countries to ensure respect for the principle of non-refoulement, in line with their obligations under the 1951 Refugee Convention. IDC urges all governments to respect the human right to seek asylum, particularly to countries neighbouring Afghanistan, and to ensure that all who wish to leave Afghanistan are able to do so safely with their human rights respected at every step.

Further, whilst IDC applauds those governments who have pledged to resettle Afghan refugees, the commitments made fall far short of what is needed. IDC urges all governments to increase their resettlement commitments to Afghan people, prioritising family reunification, as well as immediate resettlement of human rights, women’s rights and gender justice defenders, and persecuted groups in situations of vulnerability, particularly women, girls and LGBTIQ+ people, ethnic and religious minority groups such as Hazaras, Sikhs and other at-risk groups, all children, and all personnel involved in the US-led Coalition Forces mission in Afghanistan. 

Additionally, IDC urges all governments to resettle Afghan refugees from countries of asylum and transit countries, as well as establishing safe and legal routes for all people to continue leaving Afghanistan. Yet resettlement must not be seen by governments as a substitute for continuing to uphold the fundamental right to seek asylum. At any point during this deteriorating humanitarian crisis, it is essential that Afghan people are not criminalised or discriminated against while exercising their right to seek asylum anywhere in the world. 

As the moral compass of the world is being tested at this moment, IDC urges all governments to act with leadership, solidarity and empathy during this critical time, and to centre their duty to human rights, human dignity, and to ensuring gender justice and equality for women, girls and LGBTIQ+ people.

To Afghan communities around the world, we stand firmly with you in solidarity.


Alternatives to Detention (ATD) Resources