Hazara religious minority
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HRW: Taliban Fail to Protect Religious Minorities

Human Rights Watch (HRW) says the Taliban have failed to protect Afghanistan’s religious minorities from violence and they also have persecuted some other groups.

Fereshta Abbasi, a researcher at the HRW, raised this issue in her testimony before the US Commission for International Religious Freedom.

In her statement posted on Twitter today (Saturday, October 15, 2022), Abbasi said that there is no religious freedom in Afghanistan.

She has said that the Taliban’s interpretations of Sharia law, the new rules and policies they have announced since their return to power, do not exist in any country with a Muslim population.

The HRW researcher added that all Taliban laws severely limit the basic human rights of Afghan citizens, in particular, the rights of women and girls.

She has added that based on the extreme interpretations of Sharia, the Taliban authorities have stopped girls’ education and ordered women to cover their faces completely. Taliban banned women from flying without a male chaperone.

Abbasi has added that there is no other country in the world where women face a such widespread violation of their basic human rights.

According to her, the Taliban’s restrictions violate the rights of Afghans to live according to an individual’s understanding of their religious belief.

Abbasi further said that other “oppressions” exist as well. According to her, the Taliban are failing to protect Afghanistan’s religious minorities from violence and they are persecuting some other groups.

The Taliban follow an ultraconservative Sunni interpretation of Islam. However, she said, the entire population is forced to live according to the ultraconservative interpretations of one religious sect, while “about 10% to 15% of Afghans are Shia, with a significant number of Sufis, a few Ahmadis, and some Hindus and Sikhs who live in urban areas”, Abbasi added.

She said that Shiites, Sufis and non-Muslims in Afghanistan are also targets of attacks by ISIS-KP.

ISIS has repeatedly carried out suicide bombings and other armed attacks against Shia communities, especially the Hazara people, Abbasi added.

Abbasi further said, “The Hazaras, a predominantly Shiite ethnic group, have faced discrimination and oppression by successive Afghan governments for more than a century.”

Recently, Kaaj educational centre was targeted in the Hazara area, in the west of Kabul where around 60 students, mostly girls, were killed according to statistics shared by UNAMA.

This attack caused global protests and protesters started the “StopHazaraGenocide” movement and raised their voices for the recognition of the ‘Hazara Genocide’ in Afghanistan.