Photo: Chandra Arya via Twitter

Canadian Parliament Hosts Meeting on Hazara Genocide, Calls for National Support

On May 31, a seminar, hosted by two Canadian parliamentarians and coordinated by a group of Hazara advocates, was organized at the Canadian parliament in the capital Ottawa to discuss the ongoing “Hazara Genocide” in Afghanistan.

The seminar also included speakers from the UK parliament, Swedish parliament, Hazara scholars, and genocide experts, and was attended by members of the community and other minority groups, including Uyghurs, Ahmadiyya, and Jews.

“The main purpose of the seminar was to address the ongoing genocide and other atrocities against the Hazara people in Afghanistan and escalate potential political, diplomatic, and humanitarian support to help prevent it,” Ali Karimi, assistant professor at the University of Calgary and a speaker at the event, told KabulNow.

“We asked the Canadian parliament to initiate a parliamentary inquiry into the systematic attacks against Hazaras that can not only help policymakers in Canada and beyond but also pressurize the Taliban authorities, at least in terms of diplomatic measures, to be held into account and not allow for the perpetuation of atrocities against Hazaras.”

The event was followed by a petition launched by the Canadian Hazara Advocacy Group and tabled by Canadian MP Ali Ehsassi in the House of Commons, calling on the Canadian government to take effective actions against the atrocities on the Hazara community.

Tahir Shaaran, the representative of the Group, told KabulNow that the human rights situation of Hazaras in Afghanistan is dire and they are left at the mercy of the Taliban who persecuted them in the late 1990s and the community fare no better under the new Taliban rule since their return to power in August 2021.

Another speaker at the event, Gregory Stanton, a leading expert on genocide, said that the Hazaras have been the victim of genocide at least for a century when one of the rulers of Afghanistan carried out this crime by killing over half of their population in the 1890s.

“That genocide continued ever since,” Stanton added. “The Hazaras are at grave threat right now in the country because the Taliban have retaken power.”

Ehsassi raised these concerns in the lower house of the Canadian parliament an hour before the seminar began in Ottawa.

“The Hazaras are concerned about the persecution that the Taliban are subjecting members of the community in Afghanistan,” Ehsassi told members of the parliament.

“It is well recorded that there are many atrocities going on and it is important that we all are aware of these and do everything that we can possibly do to stand with members of the Hazara community.”

The petition also called on the Canadian government to support an independent investigation by the Human Rights Council of the UN into the persistent atrocities against the Hazaras in Afghanistan.

Moreover, the Canadian Hazara advocates urged the federal government to substantially increase visas for Hazaras who are seeking asylum in Canada through special immigration programs, Ehsassi noted in his speech, before urging members of the House of Commons to pay attention and support the Hazaras.

In early 2022, the Hazara Inquiry, a cross-party parliamentary inquiry was launched in the UK by both Houses and experts to reveal atrocities against and promote justice for the Hazaras in Afghanistan and Pakistan

In November of that year, Dandenong City Council in southeast Melbourne, Australia was believed to be the world’s first government body to recognize the genocide of Hazaras in Afghanistan after a motion was tabled a month earlier.

“The path to international recognition and interventions to eventually prevent the genocide of Hazaras is long and never easy, but we must continue with our efforts to seek justice for the victims, survivors, and the community,” Karimi said.