Statement on the Hazara situation at the 53rd Session of the UN Human Rights Council

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Item 2: Enhanced interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan and the Working Group on discrimination against women and girls

Statement by the Human Rights Law Centre, Australia

“Thank you, Mr President. I am Sitarah Mohammadi.

Since the Taliban’s return in 2021, they have launched a systematic campaign against human rights in Afghanistan that affects all liberal groups, women, Tajiks, Uzbeks, Hazaras, Pashtuns, and minorities.

While Afghanistan is a land of ethnic minorities among the various victims of the Taliban’s repressive rule, it is important to recognise the genocidal and systematic persecution endured by the Hazara people, a religious minority. Recognising the systematic persecution of Hazaras should lead to meaningful steps to document these abuses and protect the Hazaras from further repression, dispossession, and marginalisation.

The systematic persecution of the Hazara people illustrates a complex combination of factors such as ethnicity, religion, predominantly Shia Muslims, and the suppression of democratic and progressive values. Consequently, the situation of Hazaras further reflects the broader human rights violations and atrocities committed by Taliban rule.

At the national level, Hazaras are excluded entirely from the Taliban’s governance system. The systematic and structural discrimination against the Hazaras at the micro and local levels is deeply concerning. The Taliban actively divert international humanitarian aid from Hazara areas to reward their supporters in other areas.

Several Hazara communities in several provinces have been forcefully displaced from their ancestral lands.

This is genocidal displacement. Hazaras face active discrimination in the judicial system at the administrative and district levels. Locally, the return of the Taliban has created a situation whereby one group, primarily the Pashtun people, completely dominates the Hazaras politically, economically, and culturally.

The Taliban have entirely removed all Hazaras from the courts across Afghanistan, including in areas where the Hazaras form the majority of the population. Hazara women experience extra layers of vulnerability due to the intersectional factors of gender, religion, and ethnicity.

Hazaras face widespread and all-encompassing discrimination that affects them in various aspects of their lives.

The mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) was renewed by UN Security Council Resolution 2678 on March 16, 2023. On the same day, the Council approved Resolution 2679, mandating an ongoing human rights assessment of Afghanistan.

The UN must go beyond tepid verbal condemnation of the Taliban’s repression. An independent UN Investigative Mission must thoroughly document the abuses by the Taliban to be put to use when the people of Afghanistan finally overthrow the Taliban. And the Taliban will be overthrown. Hazaras must know that besides providing food and medicines to keep us alive, the UN keeps a permanent record of Taliban crimes against humanity.

UN Security Council Resolution 2679 calls for a report by 17 November 2023 to the UN Secretary-General with an independent assessment of violations of the rights of women and girls and of religious and ethnic minorities in Afghanistan.

It is time, Mr President, for the UN Human Rights Council and the UN Security Council to take action to stop the systematic persecution of Hazaras. The Sunni Muslim Taliban and IS-KP are committing a slow genocide by attrition of Shia Muslim Hazaras.

States that can provide asylum should recognise the Hazaras’ justified fear of persecution and provide them with humanitarian protection.

I urge UN member states on the Human Rights Council to recognise the Hazara people’s systematic persecution. The UN must do all it can to end Taliban tyranny in Afghanistan.”

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