Afghanistan: iaIGO Condemns the Killing of Members of the Hazara Minority Group

Afghanistan: iaIGO Condemns the Killing of Members of the Hazara Minority Group 10 September 2015

The International Gulf Organization for Human Rights (iaIGO) strongly denounces the killing of 13 people from the Hazara ethnic minority group by unidentified gunmen in northern Afghanistan.

A group of heavily armed men attacked a mini bus in the northern part of Afghanistan and killed at least 13 civilians who were mainly from the Hazara ethnic minority group in the country. This incident occurred in the usually peaceful province of Balkh were the gunmen dragged all the victims, mostly male from two vehicles and shot them dead.

No group has immediately claimed responsibility for the latest attack but it is largely believed to have been members of the Taliban group. The hard-line Talibans are said to have persecuted the Hazara ethnic minority extensively during the group’s rule between 1996 and 2001. Additional, gunmen kidnapped 12 Hazaras from a car in east Afghanistan last month; days after suspected Taliban fighters kidnapped and killed four Hazaras in the same province.

iaIGO condemns the persecution and killings of Hazaras in Afghanistan and stresses that it’s a serious violation against international laws and also against international human rights laws. Article 27 of the International Convention on Civil and political Rights mandates the rights of ethnic, religious and linguistic minority to enjoy their own culture, to profess their own religion, and to use their own language. Also, Article 2 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination mandates all State parties to prohibit and eradicate all practices of racial discrimination against any persons, ethnic groups or organization. Afghanistan is a state party to both conventions but has failed to protect the minority rights of the Hazaras.

The recent fatal incident came as Afghan’s President Ashraf Ghani implored international donors for renewed and continuous support for his “wounded country” saying the country faced a multitude of security and economic challenges. According to UN records, almost 5,000 civilians died in fighting and attack in Afghanistan within the first half of 2015 with about 70 percent of the killings blamed on the Taliban. The Talibans were ousted from power by a U.S.-led coalition in 2001 and since then have been waging an insurgency against the foreign-backed government.

Therefore, iaIGO urges the Afghan government to promptly investigate the recent killings of members of the Hazara ethnic minority group and to bring to justice those responsible for this heinous crime. The Afghan government should equally ensure it recognize its obligation under international human rights laws and provide enough protection to the Hazaras against any form of racial discrimination. iaIGO also calls on the UN Security Council to mediate peace talks between all parties involved in the ongoing violence and enable them to agree on sustainable solutions that will bring permanent peace and development for the benefit of all in the country.