The Asian Pacific Institute on Gender Based Violence (API-GBV) expresses solidarity with the Afghan community and deep concern about the humanitarian crisis that is unfolding before our eyes. API-GBV, a national resource center on domestic violence, sexual violence, trafficking, and other forms of gender-based violence in Asian/Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities, works to disrupt gender-based violence, which causes physical, sexual, emotional, spiritual and economic harm within AAPI communities throughout the U.S. and its territories.
Throughout history, whenever there is war and hostility, women and children are the first to suffer from acts of violence against them. The suffering from war and the intergenerational trauma of gender-based violence affects families long-term, and has lasting effects on community healing. Many Afghan women who have been working to advance the rights and freedom of women and girls fear retribution for their stance, including torture and violence against them. At this moment, refugees from Afghanistan are fleeing, seeking safety and support, and must be provided protection by the United States and its partners. We cannot allow history to repeat itself for this vulnerable community.
API-GBV urges the Administration to:
- Immediately process Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) to allow for safe passage for the affected Afghan population.
- Immediately process humanitarian immigrant visas, including asylum and refugee applications.
- Prioritize Afghan women and children for evacuation due to the imminent gender-based violence concerns.
- Expedited resources and funding for local community-based organizations and refugee resettlement agencies must be provided to support the organizations who will be working with and supporting the Afghan community who already are, and will be arriving to the U.S.
- Recommit to providing protection for the population, especially women and girls, in Afghanistan who cannot expeditiously migrate to the U.S. and are left behind to face violence or retribution.
There are many organizations in the United States, both within and outside the Afghan diaspora, that are committed to and have been serving Afghans for years, and we urge you to support their leadership, including with financial resources.
Some of these organizations include:
Finally, please contact your congressional members and state your concern and how they can assist and support more during this most critical time for the Afghan people.