Our Work In


It’s been over two years since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan, putting women and girls and LGBTQIA+ people of all genders at risk of violence and persecution. But MADRE is working diligently with our grassroots partners to advance human rights and protect activists in Afghanistan as well as in the countries they now call home.

Rapid Response, Rapid Action

As Afghanistan endured the Taliban takeover in 2021, MADRE worked with our local grassroots partners to help women and girls escape violence, establishing safehouses and providing material support. When massive earthquakes struck Afghanistan in June 2022, and again in October 2023, our relationships with local women organizers allowed us to rapidly deliver humanitarian relief to directly impacted communities.


Building a Just Peace

In the years since the Taliban took power, we’ve provided documentation, advocacy materials, and training for women’s and human rights defenders in Afghanistan, and those who’ve been forced to flee. MADRE has organized multi-country trips, including with UN officials, to meet with refugees and Afghan women’s rights activists about crimes committed on the basis of gender. Thanks to your support of MADRE, we’re able to build the infrastructure and the access to ensure that women and LGBTQIA+ people in Afghanistan will finally see justice.

“MADRE and its supporters saved my life and the lives of my children…Thank God for the connection to the sisterhood and the feminist activists, when Kabul fell to the Taliban. Because of their solidarity, I finally received help”

Jamila Afghani Afghan Human Rights Defender


Gender Persecution in Afghanistan

Taliban members have committed torture, murder, sexual violence, and other inhumane acts against women, girls, men, boys, and/including LGBTQI+ people, to enforce the Taliban’s imposed gender ideology. Gender violence services and legal protections have been all but eliminated, and the Taliban is denying girls and women fundamental rights to education, freedom of movement, expression, work, assembly, among others. These and other acts can amount to the crime against humanity of gender persecution. See below to learn more and read MADRE’s reports on gender persecution in Afghanistan.

These reports, part of an ongoing analysis series, describe Taliban policies to deprive fundamental rights on a discriminatory basis. The first two reports together focus on rights to education, assembly, expression and work. They describe crimes the Taliban have allegedly committed to enforce fundamental rights deprivations, and provide legal analysis explaining how these acts can amount to the crime against humanity of gender persecution.

Access to Justice Program


Survivors of gender crimes who seek justice face numerous challenges. As refugees, they may confront inadequate health and psychosocial care, language barriers, and a lack of supports necessary to connect with accountability mechanisms.

MADRE’s Access to Justice Program helps Afghan refugees—specifically women, girls and/ including LGBTQIA+ victims of torture, threats, and persecution by the Taliban—to call for justice. MADRE does this by supporting victims in meeting basic needs, including psychosocial support. We facilitate their access to international accountability mechanisms, when and if they are ready to share their stories, and work to ensure their wellbeing during these processes.

Recently, the Access to Justice Program provided an emergency grant to an LGBTQIA+ refugee for dental care. The Taliban had broken his teeth, but he couldn’t access the necessary care through government refugee programs. By providing targeted emergency grants, the Access to Justice Program is able to fill needs gaps and help victims to heal in dignity and find the strength to participate in ensuring accountability.

Support MADRE’s Access to Justice Program
A profile shot of Palestinian woman looking down into the distance

"After The Takeover" Live Q&A

On August 15, 2023, the 2nd anniversary of the Taliban takeover, Arash Azizzada (Afghans For A Better Tomorrow) and Kate Alexander (MADRE) came together for an Instagram Q&A to discuss the aftermath, actions from those on the ground, and ways to support those affected. Watch the video on Instagram.

Portrait of MADRE’s policy and campaigns officer, Kate Alexander

Kate Alexander

Kate Alexander supports MADRE’s advocacy programs to develop US foreign policies that advance the rights of women, LGBTQIA+ persons, and other marginalized groups. Her work at MADRE focuses on feminist peace and climate justice, partnering with grassroots women worldwide to bring their perspectives and analysis to shape US policy-making. Kate has written widely on humanitarian issues, including those facing Afghans.

Portrait of Arash Azizzada, the co-founder and co-director of Afghans For a Better Tomorrow

Arash Azizzada

Arash Azizzada is a second-generation Afghan American, journalist, filmmaker, and community and labor organizer based in Los Angeles, California. Along with Afghans For a Better Tomorrow, Arash is the co-founder of the Afghan Diaspora for Equality and Progress. His work has focused on ending the US-led occupation of Afghanistan and promoting the voices of women and other marginalized groups in Afghanistan in peace talks and reconciliation efforts.

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