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Canada Has Promised to Resettle LGBTQ+ Afghans and Female Judges

Afghan women protesting in Canada

Canada previously said it would take in 40,000 Afghan refugees after U.S.-led forces left Afghanistan in August.


A spokesperson for the Canadian government has said the country will be taking in an unspecified number of LGBTQ+ Afghans as well as around 230 people made up of female judges and their families.

The judges have been living without a solid route after leaving Afghanistan, according to Reuters.

The LGBTQ+ Afghans were referred to the Canadian government by an unnamed third-party aid organization, the spokesperson told the news agency. No date for their arrival to Canada has been released.

Canada previously said it would take in 40,000 Afghan refugees but has given no timeline on doing so. Reuters reports that the Canadian government has resettled 3,915 Afghans who had connections to the Canadian government and another 2,535 who were resettled on humanitarian grounds.

LGBTQ+ Afghans have faced persecution since the Taliban took control of the country after U.S. troop withdrawal in August. There have been media reports of the group attacking LGBTQ+ people. The international LGBTQ+ group Rainbow Railroad even claimed a hit list of LGBTQ+ people was being circulated by the Taliban.

Women's rights in Afghanistan have also been of concern now the Taliban have taken back power since they ruled from 1996 to 2001. Under their government, only men were allowed to work in the judiciary, the media, and politics.

"All the achievements of 20 years came back to zero within the blink of an eye," Freshta Masoni, an Afghan family court judge currently in Athens with her toddler daughters, told Reuters.

The Taliban has said it would protect women's rights. However, the extremist military group said they would do so according to their interpretation of Islamic law.

Reuters notes that Afghan asylum-seekers may face years of delays due to a lack of capacity from governments and international agencies. Some of the women judges that Canada has promised to help have gone without health coverage because of their temporary visa status in Greece.

"The biggest bottleneck there is the issue that referral partners in the region have not been able to ramp up capacity," Canada's immigration minister, Sean Fraser, told Reuters in December. "These challenges are going to take a little bit of time to sort out."

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