Afghanistan—Hazara MinorityPublished on 28 November 2016 Hansard and Statements by Senator Mobina Jaffer
Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer:
Honourable senators, I rise to speak on the plight of the Hazaras of Afghanistan and their continued persecution throughout history.
The Hazaras of Afghanistan are a peace-loving people that have lived across Afghanistan’s Silk Road for centuries.
However, despite their peaceful nature, the Hazaras have been the subject of discrimination lasting for as long as the modern state of Afghanistan has existed.
Their plight goes back as far as the late 18th century, when the Afghan Emir launched a systemic genocide of the Hazaras. Because of this order, countless Hazara men were killed and their women and children were either raped or sold into slavery by the thousands.
During the Taliban era, the Hazaras were once again the subject of systemic violence. From February 1993, massacres took place at Afshar City, where U.N. reports indicate that thousands were slaughtered and their bodies left on the roads.
In August 1998, the killing resumed when the horrific massacres in Mazar-e Sharif occurred, where more than 8,000 Hazaras were slaughtered in the span of two days.
Honourable senators, today the Hazaras continue to be the subject of various forms of discrimination and kidnappings. In January of this year, a bus was pulled over and nine Hazara passengers on board were executed on the side of the road.
Let me share with you the tragedy of a nine-year-old girl named Shukria Tabassum, who was among the victims. Shukria knew nothing of the violence her people faced or even that she was being targeted because of her ethnicity.
Because of this long-lasting persecution of Hazaras, the life of a young girl who worked hard in school and got along with her teachers was senselessly lost.
When Canada decided to enter Afghanistan in 2001, it was based on an international effort to defeat a threat to global peace and security.
Honourable senators, our work is not done. Every day, Hazaras are persecuted. Many Hazaras are our neighbours in Canada and I ask you to take some time to help the Hazaras in Canada raise awareness of what is happening in their homeland. The Hazaras are now our neighbours, and they need to know that we are with them.