Human rights NGO network calls upon international community to prevent possible genocide of Hazaras

The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) issued a statement on Friday calling for an end to the systemic killing of Shia Hazaras in Afghanistan in order to prevent a possible genocide under Taliban rule.

In their Friday statement, FORUM-ASIA urged the international community to raise awareness about the ongoing persecution of marginalized groups such as Shia Hazaras in Afghanistan and called upon them to support the establishment of an international investigative and accountability mechanism to document ongoing human rights violations. Recently, legislative bodies in the UK, Canada, Australia and Sweden have opened groups to support and seek accountability for the plight of Shia Hazaras, as an example of such awareness campaigns. 

Reflecting on the UK’s efforts and Friday’s report, Dr. Homira Rezai, Chairwoman of Hazara Committee UK and Secretariat to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hazaras in the UK Parliament, told JURIST:

As a Hazara Rights activist, I implore the international community to heed the urgent call for action by FORUM-ASIA. The plight of the persecuted Hazara community in Afghanistan demands our collective attention and unwavering solidarity. We cannot remain silent in the face of such systematic discrimination, violence, and genocide. It is our moral duty to stand up, raise our voices, and push for immediate and concerted efforts to protect the rights, lives, and dignity of the Hazaras. Only through united global coalition and action can we bring an end to this injustice and ensure a future of safety, equality, and freedom for all marginalized communities in Afghanistan.

The statement further recommended providing feasible protection measures for vulnerable communities, including humanitarian visas and resettlement opportunities, and ensuring equitable delivery of humanitarian assistance. International human rights organizations have documented how the Taliban’s rule has displaced upwards of 25,000 primarily-Hazara people and led to the death or injury of 700 Hazara civilians. 

With the release of Friday’s statement Executive Director of FORUM-ASIA Mary Aileen Diez-Bacalso said:

The situation of massive and systematic human rights violations against the Shia community is extremely alarming. Such callous and organised persecution of the Shia community is fundamentally linked to the complete denial of their freedom of religion or belief-a bleak situation that necessitates global condemnation.

The Hazaras, a minority ethnic group in Afghanistan, have faced a long history of persecution and discrimination. Being primarily Shia Muslims in a predominately Sunni Muslim country, they have been subject to various forms of violence and marginalization. Hazaras have been victims of targeted attacks, ethnic cleansing and discrimination. They often face exclusion from basic services, limited access to education, and restricted opportunities for employment. Despite efforts growing international efforts for peace and inclusivity, the Hazaras continue to be victims of violence and persecution.

In recent years, Hazaras have been targeted by groups such as the Taliban and ISIS, resulting in numerous deadly attacks on their community. This ongoing genocide has left a lasting impact on the Hazara population, leading to fear, displacement and loss of lives.