Press Release

Aug 16, 2021Hazara

Canada must prioritize the rescue of the persecuted Hazaras

Ottawa – Hazara-Canadians are horrified by the return of the Taliban – in Afghanistan – for they have suffered unspeakable atrocities during that regime’s reign of terror.

The Hazaras have suffered over a century of perpetual persecution based on their race and religion.

From 1891 to 1893, tens of thousands of Hazaras were forcefully displaced from their lands and exiled, while many other thousands were forcefully proselytized, raped, and enslaved.

During the 90s Taliban rule the Hazara’s suffering continued. In 1998, the Taliban systematically slaughtered thousands of Hazaras in the cities of Mazar-e-Sharif and Bamiyan alone.

Despite being one of the first to lay down their arms and give peace a chance – in post 9/11– Hazaras continued to be the subject of daily attacks, be it within the sanctuary of religious places, in gymnasiums, in the streets, or on public buses.

Attacks such as the May 2020 assault on the Médecins Sans Frontière’s maternity ward in Kabul’s Dasht-

e-Barchi (where infants still in incubators were targeted) or the May 2021 assault on the Sayed al-

Shuhada all-girl school (where as many as 94 young girls died) have proven that Hazaras are a target

regardless of age or gender.

The Immigration Refugee Board of Canada’s April 2021 Afghanistan Human Rights report quotes that “societal discrimination against Shia Hazaras continued in the form of extortion of money through illegal taxation, forced recruitment and forced labor, physical abuse, and detention.”

Here at home, Hazara-Canadians coast-to-coast-to-coast are relieved by the Government of Canada’s decision on resettling 20,000 vulnerable individuals from Afghanistan – however – we beseech the Government to not forget the Hazaras and condemn them to another genocide.

On the ground, reports obtained from witnesses and International news outlets have thus far shown that the Taliban – while once again plunging the country into the dark abyss of barbarism – have renewed their genocidal focus on the Hazaras. With every city captured, Hazara men (children included) are singled out and beheaded; while the women are raped and forced into sex slavery.

Based on these extraordinary circumstances, we urge the Government to invoke subsection 25(1)(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to:

  • Prioritize Hazara journalists, rights defenders, civil society leaders and women.
  • Expedite the processing time for existing applications for Private Sponsorships of Refugees.
  • Remove restrictions on current sponsorship programs.
  • Exempt Afghans who fled the country from providing proof of refugee status under the group of five and community sponsorship.
  • Expand the Afghan Resettlement program by increasing the intake of applicants from 20,000 to provide all vulnerable individuals a chance to escape the crisis.

While our network of social service organizations and private citizens – across this great Nation – remain on standby to assist with the settlement process; we urge the Government to follow the footsteps of Ret. General Roméo Dallaire, by saving the Hazaras swiftly, in order to avoid another Rwanda.

The Hazaras of Afghanistan live on borrowed time and tomorrow might be too late!

Canadian Hazara Humanitarian Services (CHHS)
President Ibrahim Mohebi  
Senior Advisor Ali Mirzad  
Global Kindness Foundation
President Dr Hasnain R. Dewji
Vancouver Assoc. for the Survivors of Torture
Co-Facilitator Fatima Haidari
Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights
Hazara Women Organization
Founder Zahra Hafiz
University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School for Communication
Postdoctoral Fellow Ali Karimi
Northern Lights Canada
Co-Founder Stephen Watt
Northern Lights Canada.
Co-Founder Jaivet Ealom
Freelance Journalist Robyn Huang