Hazara Inquiry Statement Regarding the Targeted Attacks on Hazaras in Afghanistan
[London, 22 April 2022] On 19 April 2022, two explosions took place in front of the Abdur Rahim Shaheed High School gate in Dasht-e-Barchi, a Hazara neighbourhood in west Kabul. The attack has killed at least 40 and has injured over 60 people. Another hand grenade attack occurred in the Mumtaz Tuition Centre on the same day. On 21 April 2022, another attack targeted one of the largest Hazara/Shia mosques in Mazar-i-Sharif of Balkh province during prayers killing at least 30 and injuring over 80 people. The exact number of casualties in those attacks are yet to be confirmed.
These coordinated attacks mark the continuation of targeting the Hazara Shia community as seen over the years. Schools and mosques are some of the most common places of such targeted attacks. For example, on 8 May 2021, an attack targeting a school in Dasht-e-Barchi, Sayed Ul-Shuhada Girls High School, killed at least 85 Hazara girls and wounded over 240 more. On 8 October 2021, an attack on Sayed Abad Mosque, a Shia Mosque in Kunduz, killed 150 and injured more than 200. This attack followed by another attack a week later targeting a Hazara mosque in Kandahar killing 64 and injuring more than 100.
Such targeted attacks against the Hazara community have increased significantly since the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban in 2021. However, the issue does not appear to receive enough attention from the international community. Taliban has a record of human rights violations against the Hazaras during their first regime in the 1990s. It is highly unlikely they would be able to protect the community.
As Lord Alton of Liverpool commented: ‘As the eyes of the world are elsewhere, the Hazara community in Afghanistan is being slaughtered. We knew about this risk last year as the Taliban were taking over. Now the risk is materialising before our eyes. The world must act without any further delay.’
We condemn the targeted attacks against the Hazara education centres and mosque, and call upon governments and international organisations to act to protect this persecuted community:
- Governments and international organisations, including the United Nations, must pay attention to the targeted attacks against the Hazaras and work together to ensure the protection of the community;
- The International Criminal Court must prioritise investigations into the targeted attacks against the Hazaras in Afghanistan;
- Governments, international organisations, and other actors must collect and preserve evidence for the atrocities committed against the Hazara people, and share them with the International Criminal Court.
Note: In April 2022, British Parliamentarians launched a Parliamentary inquiry into the situation of Hazaras in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The aim of the Inquiry is to consider the situation of the Hazaras in Afghanistan and in Pakistan, and map the crimes perpetrated against the group particularly where such crimes constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide; identify the assistance (legal, humanitarian, and otherwise) available to the community and its shortfalls; engage the U.K. Government and international actors with recommendations on assistance to the community; and identify justice and accountability avenues for legal recourse and engage them with the evidence gathered.
Over the next months, the Inquiry will hear from survivors, experts, organisations assisting the communities and anyone else with relevant knowledge of the situation of the community. The Inquiry aims to shed light on the situation of the Hazaras and engage the international community to act. More at: https://www.hazarainquiry.com/