Photos: Jamila Ahmadi
As part of the nation- wide peaceful demonstration, hundreds of people gathered on Saturday April 11th in front of Parliament House in South Australia to call for an end to the abduction of 31 kidnapped Hazaras and forced deportation of Hazara Asylum seekers from Australia. This nation-wide peaceful demonstration was set up to be launched in major cities of Australia and other diaspora communities across Europe, Canada, and Pakistan.
The 31 Passengers abducted on 24th of February this year at Southern Zabul province, on the Kabul-Kandahar highway by unknown militia and their whereabouts are yet to be known. This is one of five instances of barbarity on minority ethnic Hazaras in the past two months, but the Afghan government has failed to stop such inhumane atrocities and to protect their civilians. Mohammad Mohaqiq, deputy to Chief Executive Officer Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and one of the senior Hazara leaders speaking with the Associate press said “there has been no breakthrough in the release of the abducted men despite the Afghan security forces launching an operation a week after the kidnappings”.
Moreover the protester demanded the Australian Government to stop forced deportation of Hazara asylum seekers from Australia to Afghanistan. The demonstration was well organised by the Hazara Community, Association of Afghan Tertiary Students from Afghanistan (AATSA), and other Social Activists. The demonstration started at 2:00 PM and people were guided to rally from Victoria Square, one of the central locations of Adelaide City to Parliament House of South Australia. The crowd from different walks of life were upholding placards and banners which read “Bring Back Kidnapped Hazaras”, “Deportation = Abduction + Persecution”, “Stop Silence”, “Stop Kidnapping and killing Hazaras” and many more. The people were chanting slogans based on their mentioned demand while walking across King William Street towards Parliament House. The South Australian Government showed great support to the people by closing many main roads for approximately 30 minutes and undertaking serious security through the police presence.
The demonstration formally commenced by Kazim Darwish, MC of the event who was also an active organiser. The first speaker, Libby Hogarth, one of the well-known migration lawyers was invited by MC to deliver her speech. Although she expressed her deep concerns and feelings over the current situation of Hazaras, emphasized the significant potential impacts of this nation-wide demonstrations and mentioned that this was the only way to demand their rights.
Hussain Rezaiat, the head of Australian Hazara Federation (AHF) was the second speaker. He firstly thanked everyone for participating in this peaceful protest and expressed that this peaceful movement would certainly spreads awareness and contribute on the release of 31 kidnapped Hazaras and meanwhile, stoping forced deportation of Hazaras which is not considered to be safe at the current circumstances. He also stated that we gathered here to raise our voice on the failure of Afghan government in protecting their civilians and as well as demand Australian government to stop forced deportation of Hazara asylum seekers to Afghanistan.
After then the English and Dari version of the resolution were read by Dave Gulzari and Uzra Karimi whom were the active organisers of the protest. The resolution is decided to be sent to Embassy of Afghanistan in Canberra, Australia and to the Australian government. Some of the articles of this resolution were read as following:
o We are deeply concerned about the indifference of the government and the raise of Daesh/ISIS in Afghanistan and the revival of Hazara persecution at the hands of these armed militias.
o We ask the government to tackle the issue of Hazara persecution on the grass root level so that we do not have to witness another ethnic massacre in the country.
o We plead to the independent Human Rights Commission and other human rights organisations to employ all their efforts towards the release of all the abducted Hazaras.
o We state that the five incidents of Hazara kidnapping and killing in the past two months is of great concern to us and the diaspora communities. These coward incidents of targeted kidnapping of Hazaras would drive more people to make desperate and life-threatening journeys to seek asylum abroad, if not prevented and immediately ceased.
o We call on the Embassy of the Islamic State of Afghanistan in Australia to communicate our demands on the Afghan government.
o We thank all civil organisations and or movements, and our fellow country men and women for their vocal support and ask that they continue their vital and worthy efforts.