Evacuate the Afghan female athletes from the execution of the Taliban now!

Evacuate the Afghan female athletes from the execution of the Taliban now!

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Friba Rezayee started this petition to Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada - IRCC

To Human Rights defenders! 

It is time to take action: 

I wrote a letter to the the Right Honourable Canadian Prime Minister Justine Trudeau in November 2021 to successfully evacuate the Afghan female athletes who are at at high risk under the Taliban regime. However, I haven't received any response even the Canadian government promised to evacuate the women leaders, athletes and other Human Rights defenders.

We need to raise 350,000 to cover the cost of their accommodations, food, basic needs and flights while they are waiting to be evacuated into safety. Please donate here: https://donorbox.org/women-leaders-of-tomorrow-in-afghanistan

I stressed this issue with the government because it is just matter of time that the Taliban will find them and will execute them. 

This petition concerns the role Canada needs to play in terms of evacuating the Afghan female athletes and to provide them visas immediately. Signatories to this letter include the Canadian gold medal winning Soccer team from the 2020 Summer Olympics and numerous other notable athletes and public figures.

I've started this petition because I need public's support to save those female athletes lives; the Canadian government isn't responding to my letters, emails or other inquiries. I am at the merci of your support now. 

Here is my letter:

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau February 8th, 2022 Prime Minister of Canada

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau:

My name is Friba Rezayee. I competed in judo at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games as the first Afghan woman in the history of Afghanistan and the International Olympic Committee to do so. I am now a Canadian citizen and founder of Women Leaders of Tomorrow where we use sport and education to empower women.

I am writing regarding the ongoing, deadly threat to my fellow Afghan female athletes by the Taliban and the urgent need for your action and public support. I was heartened by Canada’s promise to ensure that women athletes will be evacuated, but as you will see from the numbers below, Canada falls short of other countries in terms of the actual numbers who have safely been resettled in Canada.

The situation in Afghanistan is dire as it relates to women’s sports and rights. Several members of our teams have been threatened with judgement in a Sharia law court operated by the Taliban, with punishments as high as 100 lashings publicly or the death penalty. A female member of the volleyball team, Majabeen Hakimi was murdered under highly suspicious circumstances exactly at the same time as the Taliban captured the government. This has been excessively reported by the international media.

Many men’s sport teams, as well as male employees of the National Olympic Committee and other sport federations were successful in leaving the country and are still being evacuated.

Sadly, most of our female athletes and teams have been left behind. They’re in hiding, terrified of the deadly consequences of being found. Lack of Canadian interest in prioritizing Afghan women’s sports teams has contributed to discrimination against them, and to the danger they now face.

The IRCC breach of 636 people who applied for refugee status has made life much more perilous for them. One athlete, who made it to another country, where she is still in fear, was contacted by a criminal who posed as the IRCC: She gave him all her contact information. Now she has had to flee her safehouse and find somewhere else to hide.

In early November four elite women athletes, including myself, wrote to Minister of Immigration Sean Fraser (letter attached) and provided the following numbers: To our knowledge, only 8 soccer players and 2 female soccer coaches, 3 runners, 1 snowboarder and 1 cricketer have been evacuated to Canada. We have not had any response from Minister Fraser.

We estimate comparative numbers as shared among the advocates with whom we liaise: • CANADA: 15 female athletes
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
AUSTRALIA: 45 female soccer players, 4 female soccer coaches, 2 female referees, 8 taekwondo athletes, 2 para-athletes, and 1 karate athlete.
PORTUGAL: 22 female soccer players
SWITZERLAND: 30 female cyclists
U.K: 35 female soccer players

The Taliban government forbids women’s sport and considers it to be contrary to their strict interpretation of Sharia law. For them it is a sinful act, and they have declared their intent to suppress all athletic participation of women outside the home. In fact, the first foreign diplomacy move made by the Taliban was to release an official decree on September 19, 2021 banning women from participating in or playing sports.

Afghanistan’s national team athletes are known to the Taliban. They carry the job title athlete in their passports. The Taliban knows who they are and are hunting them down door to door, looking for women who were once athletes and advocated for women’s rights. If Canada does not safely extract them, they will die.

In order to help save the lives of these young women, we request the following:
Immediately secure Canadian visas for verified Afghan female athletes. (We have verified lists)
Assure safe passage to airports and assign charter flights evacuating the Afghan female

athletes daily. We have worked with those carrying out similar flights. We know they want to

work with Canada: All that is needed are Canadian visas.
Enact emergency measures to issue Temporary Resident Permits to female refugee athletes.

There is should be no bureaucratic red tape impeding the Afghan female athletes.
Waive the Refugee Status Determination (RSD) card requirement to allow for prompter

women’s rights groups and reduce potential administrative roadblocks.

Canada played a vital role in Afghanistan advancing women’s rights and empowering women and girls. Canada also worked to protect all human rights and helped the people of Afghanistan believe in the principals of democracy. It is devastating to see our rights and freedoms extinguished overnight.

Please find below the names of many prominent Canadian individuals and organizations across the world of sport and human rights, including Canada’s Olympic gold medalists women’s soccer, who support my call for immediate and sustained actions to ensure a safe evacuation and the granting of visas to these young women and girls who put their lives on the line to promote a new Afghanistan, one that was strong, free and empowered women. Afghan female athletes need your urgent response and assistance to assure our safety, and to save the legacy of women’s sports in Afghanistan.

I look forward to working with you to ensure women’s rights are upheld, and our athletes are safe.

Friba Rezayee
Executive Director
Women Leaders of Tomorrow

281 have signed. Let’s get to 500!
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