A Taliban fighter stands guard as Afghan women shout slogans during an anti-Pakistan protest rally, near the Pakistan embassy in Kabul on September 7, 2021. - The Taliban on September 7, 2021 fired shots into the air to disperse crowds who had gathered for an anti-Pakistan rally in the capital, the latest protest since the hardline Islamist movement swept to power last month. (Photo by Hoshang Hashimi / AFP) (Photo by HOSHANG HASHIMI/AFP via Getty Images)

Crisis and Tactical Round-Up Fall 2021: Focus on Afghanistan


Afghanistan is at risk of losing the human rights gains made in the last 20 years. Amnesty was among many organizations expressing concern at the rapidly deteriorating situation earlier this year and backed a call by the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission for a United Nations-mandated Fact-Finding Mission in Afghanistan looking at abuses from January 2020 onwards.

The responsibility of the international community didn’t end with the complete withdrawal of US & NATO forces from Afghanistan on August 31st. Thousands of Afghans remain at risk of reprisal from the Taliban. We are calling on the international community to:

  • Ensure safe passage for human rights defenders, activists, journalists, women leaders, and other at-risk groups who remain in Afghanistan by continuing negotiations with the Taliban to keep the borders open & allow all those who wish to leave the country.
  • Ensure protection for all Afghan refugees who managed to get out of the country and provide them support for pathways to protection, such as resettlement and community sponsorship.
  • Press the Taliban to protect, promote and fulfill international human rights standards and ensure the participation and inclusion of Afghan women (activists, journalists, lawyers, judges, teachers, doctors, police officers).
  • Ensure humanitarian aid can continue unabated within Afghanistan.
  • Support a robust investigative mechanism by the UN Human Rights Council to document, collect and preserve evidence of ongoing crimes and human rights abuses across Afghanistan.

What you can do

Share Information: This is an evolving human rights crisis. Follow Amnesty Canada’s social media feeds and share content on Afghanistan (@AmnestyNow on Twitter and @AmnestyCanada on Instagram and Facebook).

Support the work of partners: Amnesty International Canada has signed onto an open letter and campaign by the Canadian Campaign for Afghan Peace. Activists are encouraged to support this initiative which includes advice around how to raise the issue with election candidates.

#UniteForAfghanistan solidarity action: Record a message of solidarity – ether a short video or a picture of yourself/your group holding a solidarity message. Reach out to local Human Rights Defenders, activists, journalists, celebrities, and other influencers who may also be interested in getting involved. Share the messages online by tagging @AmnestyNow and @amnestysasia on Twitter (@AmnestyCanada on IG and Facebook) and using the hashtag #UniteForAfghanistan.

Handling requests for assistance: We have limited capacity to support individual cases. Please direct people to the official Government of Canada resources for supporting Afghan nationals here: Supporting Afghan nationals: About the special programs – Canada.ca and Supporting Afghan nationals: Special measures for Afghan applications – Canada.ca. 

Stay tuned: We are continuing to gather more information on Canada’s response to the crisis, discuss work with partners, and develop our campaign strategy.

Final pushes

These online actions are wrapping up in mid-September (see links below). Please share with activists in your group or network to encourage a last round of signatures.

China: call on President Xi Jinping to release people arbitrarily held in camps and prisons in Xinjiang. Amnesty’s June 2021 report ‘Like We Were Enemies in a War’: China’s Mass Internment, Torture, and Persecution of Muslims in Xinjiang documented systematic state-organized mass imprisonment, torture and persecution amounting to crimes against humanity.

Equitable global access to Covid-19 Vaccines: call on companies to help increase production and access to vaccines by joining the World Health Organisation’s COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP). Twenty years ago, millions of people gained access to life-saving HIV treatment after leading pharma companies allowed others to produce low-cost ‘generic’ versions of HIV medicines.

Myanmar: call on governments and companies across the globe to join together and end the oppression by the military. August 19 marked 200 days since the military coup.

Ongoing actions


Syrian refugees in Denmark remain at risk of return despite Amnesty’s 7 September 2021 report documenting detention, disappearance and torture of Syrians who returned home after seeking refuge abroad. Sign and share Amnesty’s call to the Minister of Immigration and Integration in Denmark to ensure continued protection of refugees. Use the hashtag #SyriaNotSafe on social media.


New research by Amnesty in August 2021 documented extensive sexual violence against girls and women by both government forces and armed groups amounting to war crimes and possible crimes against humanity. We are calling for a prompt, thorough, independent, and impartial investigation in all cases of sexual violence perpetrated in Tigray during the conflict. You can add your name to the global call for Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to take all necessary steps to ensure justice and reparation for women and girls subjected to sexual violence by the military forces aligned with the Ethiopian government.

Individual cases

We continue to call for the release of Aleksei Navalny in Russia and for the US to drop politically motivated charges against Julian Assange.

Upcoming Actions


On September 6, 2021, Maryia Kalesnikava — the public face of the 2020 peaceful protests in Belarus – and lawyer Maksim Znak were sentenced to 11 and 10 years respectively after a brief, closed trial in which all hearings and materials were classified. Both were members of the opposition Coordinating Council. We’re expecting a new action on their cases as part of our ongoing work around the brutal crackdown on protests and dissent following the disputed elections in August 2020.

Covid-19 Vaccines

Canada must live up to its international human rights obligations and do more to ensure equitable global access to Covid-19 vaccines. This summer we wrote to PM Trudeau and several cabinet ministers calling for clear support to the World Trade Organization (WTO)’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and reform of the Canadian Access to Medicines Regime (CAMR, both of which would enable sharing of knowledge and technology to increase vaccine production and access. Caught up in all of this is a potential agreement between Bolivia and a Canadian company to produce the 15 million Johnson & Johnson doses needed to vaccinate that country’s entire adult population. But too many barriers stand in the way. Stay tuned for a post-election action in late September! 

Note: Amnesty’s general position on vaccine mandates and related issues can be found within our report  A Fair Shot released last December.

For more information: contact Hilary Homes, Crisis and Tactical Advisor (hhomes@amnesty.ca)