At Girls Not Brides we are deeply concerned by the worsening situation in Afghanistan and our hearts go out to the Afghan people.
Thousands across the country are at serious risk of reprisals from the Taliban for speaking and acting freely as citizens over the past 20 years. This includes women human rights defenders, academics, journalists and those who have aided the US and allies in peacebuilding efforts.
We are hearing distressing reports about the impact that Taliban rule is already having on girls and women, denying their access to education and putting them at increased risk of child marriage. Our thoughts today are with those who have worked within civil society organisations – including our members – who have put their own safety on the line to support the rights of girls and women in Afghanistan.
As an international community, we must stand in solidarity and speak up for the girls and women of Afghanistan who are being forced into silence.
We therefore also call on governments to continue putting pressure on the new regime to guarantee the rights of girls and women, so that they can lead a life free of gender-based violence and discrimination.
A failure to do so would further the assault on the rights of girls and women in Afghanistan and within the wider region.
In the time it has taken to read this article 13 girls under the age of 18 have been married
Each year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18
That is 23 girls every minute
Nearly 1 every 2 seconds