Guided by Justice and Compassion

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Hazara Asylum Seekers from Afghanistan: the increasing dangers they would face if they return


The year 2016 has seen further escalation of the dangers confronting the Hazaras of Afghanistan, underlined by 4 suicide bombings targeted against gathering of Hazaras for religious observance between July and November, leaving a total of more than 150 dead and 500 injured. The Afghanistan affiliate of Islamic State claims responsibility for all of these. Important new reports and analyses are featured in the latest comprehensive update on the subject, dated 28 November 2016. Special attention is given to examining the proposal that the city of Mazar-e Sharif might be a safe and viable venue for forced deportees.
The deterioration of the situation over the past 5 years has now been documented in a series of 11 papers by Dr Graeme Swincer, beginning with a comprehensive overview in September 2012. A related paper, “Hazaras in the Crosshairs under the Microscope” addresses the issues raised in a report on a spate of violent incidents on Afghanistan highways in the early months of 2015. Another paper focuses on the particular dangers faced by the Tajiks of Afghanistan.

The  following is a list all papers:

Mazar-e Sharif as a Relocation Venue for Deported Asylum Seekers. Supplementary update by Graeme Swincer: March 2017

Supplementary update by Graeme Swincer: November 2016

Supplementary update: 10 February 2016 by Graeme Swincer: February 2016

Supplementary update: 14 September 2015 by Graeme Swincer

Supplementary update: 2nd March 2015 by Graeme Swincer

Supplementary update: 18th September 2014 by Graeme Swincer

Supplementary update: 28th February 2014 by Graeme Swincer

Supplementary update: 19th May 2013 by Graeme Swincer

Supplementary update: 12th February 2013 by Graeme Swincer

Collection of new material – 8th November 2012 by Graeme Swincer

Hazara Asylum Seekers from Afghanistan: the increasing dangers they would face if they return
by Graeme Swincer September 2012


Hazaras in the Crosshairs under the microscope


A recent paper published by the Afghan Analysts Network: “Hazaras in the Crosshairs? A scrutiny of recent incidents” [1] by Qayoom Suroush has stirred up a great deal of discussion in Afghanistan. The detailed analysis is prefaced by a summary:

“Eight abductions of groups of people have been reported since late February by officials, activists or media as having targeted ethnic Hazaras. The first was also the biggest: the abduction of 31 bus passengers in Zabul on 23 February 2015. Other crimes ‘against Hazaras’ have been reported from Ghazni, Farah, Daikundi and Balkh. AAN’s Qayoom Suroush has been examining the incidents in detail to see if there is a new trend of targeting this ethnic group. He finds much of the reporting has been full of mistakes with assumptions relayed as fact. With the possible exception of the Zabul mass abduction, he finds little to back up a notion of a new trend of ethnic targeting, but does say the reporting points to how vulnerable many Hazaras feel. [emphasis added]

It is known that the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) is using this paper as a source of “adverse information” to present to Hazara asylum seekers as possible justification for denying them Australian protection. A recent DIBP communication states:

“This article indicates that in spite of the fears of Hazaras, there is no current evidence Hazaras are being systematically targeted in Afghanistan. The exception appears to be the recent Zabul abduction, but those taken have been kidnapped rather than killed, and the goal of the kidnappers remains unclear.” 

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Tajiks and their security in Afghanistan

The plight of Tajiks in Afghanistan should be understood against the situation of the Hazaras. The Hazaras of Afghanistan are justifiably famous as the most persecuted people group in the world. The Taliban and their fellow travellers such as the Laskar-e-Janghvi are extremist Sunni Muslims and they regard the Hazaras, who are generally Shia Muslims, as infidels and therefore worthy of death. In Afghanistan the Taliban are derived from members of the majority Pashtun ethnic group.
Hazaras are also hated because of their participation in the so called Northern Alliance which resisted the Taliban from 1996 to 2001. They are especially vulnerable to targeted violence because of (a) their mongoloid features which make them easily identifiable on sight and (b) their traditional commitment to gathering for Shia ceremonies such as the annual celebration of Ashura Day.

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