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As millions march in Kabul, Australian Hazaras take action

November 12, 2015 | Media Release

Australian Hazaras will hold a peaceful demonstration in Sydney (November 14) and candlelight vigils in Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide (Friday November 13) in solidarity with a million Afghans who marched in Kabul on November 11, demanding justice for seven innocent Hazaras, beheaded in Zabul, Afghanistan.

The Hazara community in Australia stands in solidarity with tens of thousands of Afghans who protested at the presidential palace in Kabul and calls on the world leaders, including Australia, to protect Hazaras from the onslaught of the Taliban and Daesh and to pressure Afghan government to bring those perpetrators to face justice.

“Our community is in mourning today as those beheaded by terrorists were known to many of us here in Australia,” event organizer in Sydney Abdul Alizada said “A community member lost his brother and another lost his mother in this vicious and coward atrocity”

“We condemn the beheading of innocent Hazara women and children in Afghanistan and we want the murderers brought to justice, and I echo the words of the UN’s special representative, Nickolas Hayson who labelled the Zabul massacre a ‘war crime’.” said Mr Ali Khan, another organizer of the event in Perth.

“It is clear Hazaras are being targeted attacked in Afghanistan solely because of their ethnicity. The world knows it. Yet, our government in Australia has not acted to recognize the suffering of Hazaras in this country. Hundreds of Hazaras languish in camps and survive in the community with no certainty, and our people are constantly under pressure to be returned. The situation in Afghanistan is very volatile and especially for Hazaras and that is why our people seek safety and protection in Australia.”

“The protestors also call on the world leaders, the United Nations and human rights groups to stop the Taliban and Daesh slaughtering Hazaras in Afghanistan. The world should not witness another atrocity like Yazidi’s or Kobani to act, they should act immediately,’ another organizer, Rohullah Rahimi, said.

Many of the people taking part in the demonstration have fled the Taliban atrocity and some are still going through their refugee determination process.

[Editor’s edit: There are at least two Australian Hazaras whose immediate family member and relative are amongst those beheaded in Zabul, Afghanistan].

We urge the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to acknowledge the dangers Hazaras face in Afghanistan and speed up processing asylum claims of Hazara asylum seekers

Relatives of those beheaded in this latest attack that spurred the million strong protest, are available for interview.

Media contact persons: Abdul Alizada 0425350144 and Mohammad Veja 0457000566

Details of protest and candlelight vigils;

Sydney

The protest will be held on Saturday, November 14, 12pm to 2 pm at Town Hall Station, Sydney. For more information, please contact details contact Ali Ali 0403675327

Adelaide

Candlelight vigil will be held on Friday November 13 from 7 pm at Elders Park, Adelaide. For more information about this event contact Dave Gulzari on dave.gulzari@gmail.com or Rahimi 0425229391

Perth

Candlelight vigil in Langley Park, Riverside Drive, Perth from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. For more information, please contact, Ali Khan on 0432241555

Melbourne

Candlelight vigil on November 14, 5pm at Federation Square. For more information, please contact Rohullah Rahimi on 0422559117 or Ali Rahimi 0409530140

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Hazara community shocked, angered at death of Afghan asylum seeker

October 20, 2015 | the age

Members of the Afghan Community mourn the death of Khodayar Amini.

Members of the Afghan Community mourn the death of Khodayar Amini. Photo: Jason South

Members of Dandenong’s Hazara community gathered in parkland in Dandenong on Tuesday to pay their respects to Afghan asylum seeker Khodayar Amini, who died after setting himself on fire on Sunday.

A dozen men and women, including several community leaders, laid flowers around a burnt patch of grassland where the 30-year-old died 48 hours earlier.

The burnt area at Robert Reserve was just 20 metres from a popular walking path and several sports ovals and is clearly visible from the walking track.

Most who came to pay tribute had never met Mr Amini, who is believed to have been living in the area for only a short time, but they expressed their shock and anger at the senseless death.

John Golzari, a representative from the Dandenong Hazara community, said locals were shocked by the tragedy.

“We came here to pay our tributes and respects to this death … to tragically end his life like this, it shouldn’t have happened. It’s tragic. It’s sad and it shouldn’t have happened under our government’s watch.

Members of the Afghan Community lay flowers at the site where Khodayar Amini self-immolated in a park in Dandenong.

Members of the Afghan Community lay flowers at the site where Khodayar Amini self-immolated in a park in Dandenong. Photo: JasonSouth

“It’s a very sad day today. People have been shocked and the biggest concern for myself is that there are 31,000 people in the same situation on bridging visas and some of them might be considering doing the same thing. We don’t want to see this happen again.”

Local resident Zakia Baig, a Hazara Pakistani, who has been living in Australia for nine years, said she had come to the site to see if what she had heard about the shocking death was true.

“I received a phone call about this and I came here to know there was a person who set himself on fire. It is hard to believe,” she said.

Ms Baig, who was visibly upset, also expressed her anger at the Australian government’s treatment of asylum seekers.

“I believe the immigration has caused him to set himself on fire … It shows the enormous pressure he was under. How can somebody be right mentally when they get kept in a limbo knowing nothing about their future,” said Ms Baig.

Mr Amini had been released from the Yongah Hill detention centre in Western Australia on a bridging visa and had been living in Sydney before arriving in Dandenong.

Ms Baig said: “This is a shame for the nation, this is a shame for the government that they can’t provide safety to a human being that is asking for safety, for security, for a second chance for their life. It is insane, inhuman.”

It emerged Mr Amini had been charged by NSW police with making death threats and intimidating people in August.

The charges related to “an alleged offensive and threatening phone call received by an organisation”, a police spokeswoman said.

Mr Amini was due to appear in Burwood Local Court on November 10.

It is understood Immigration Department officials were seeking to interview him in relation to the charges, to determine if he should remain living in the community on a bridging visa.

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young on Tuesday said she had been told Mr Amini’s “fear of being returned to immigration detention and sent back to Afghanistan drove him to take this extreme action”.

“What is clear is that the government’s cruel treatment of refugees is having disastrous effects for people both in detention and in the community,” she said.

“There needs to be a full, independent investigation into this case so that we can understand why this young man didn’t receive the support that he so clearly needed.”

For help or information call Lifeline 131 114, beyondblue 1300 224 636, MensLine 1300 789 978.

Source: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/hazara-community-shocked-angered-at-death-of-afghan-asylum-seeker-20151020-gkdxdo.html#ixzz3p6TfeivX

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Hazara asylum seeker fears for life if forceably returned, say refugee advocates

December 15, 2014 | the age

Protesters say a Hazara asylum seeker faces death if returned.Protesters say a Hazara asylum seeker faces death if returned.

Refugee advocates say they fear a Victorian Hazara asylum seeker will be killed when the Federal Government sends him back to Afghanistan on Wednesday.

More than 150 Hazara and refugee advocates protested against his deportation outside the Immigration Department’s Melbourne offices on Sunday holding placards such as “no return is safe” and “Hazarans face genocide”.

Gulistan, 33, will be the third Hazara, and the first from Victoria, to be sent back to war-torn Afghanistan since forced removals began in August.

Pamela Curr from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre said DFAT advice that Afghanistan was now safe was incorrect and that it was more dangerous than ever for Hazara.

“The strategy seems to be to pick Hazaras out at random and then issue them with a letter and send them back,” she said

Ms Curr said the first man to be sent back, Zainullah, was captured and tortured by the Taliban within weeks of his return before he subsequently escaped.

The second, Abduallah, is trapped in Kabul unable to make the journey back to his family in Jaghori out of fear he would be killed en route on a road known as the “highway to hell”.

Australian citizen Sayed Habib Musawi, who went back to Jaghori in September to visit family, was pulled off a bus on his way and shot by Taliban militants.

Protest organiser David Ahmadi said Gulistan had been living in Dandenong for three years before he was detained at the Maribyrnong Detention Centre last week.

“If they deport him, he will have to take the exact same route back to his village,” he said.

Mr Ahmadi said about 100 more Hazara in Victoria, who also had made unsuccessful refugee applications, faced the same fate.

“The murder of Sayed Habib and the torture of Zainullah occurred in the precise manner that these men facing removal have been saying would happen to them,” he said.

Fairfax Media was asked not to use the men’s last names for their protection.

Source: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/hazara-asylum-seeker-fears-for-life-if-forceably-returned-say-refugee-advocates-20141214-12705r.html

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Australia to look into Afghan attacks

October 09, 2014 | SBS News

Scott Morrison says inquiries will be made into attacks on two Afghan Hazaras with links to Australia.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says his department will investigate allegations that two Afghan Hazaras with links to Australia have been attacked by Taliban fighters.

However, it appears he is unlikely to stop the deportation of seven other asylum seekers to the troubled country.

Refugee groups have raised concerns about the forced return of the Hazaras in the wake of the attacks, including the murder of dual Australian-Afghan citizen Sayed Habib Musawi.

Musawi was pulled off a bus while travelling from Ghazni province to Kabul, before being tortured and shot by the Taliban.

Another man, Zainullah Naseri, was reportedly tortured by the Taliban just weeks after being deported from Australia.

“Of course I would follow this up by ensuring appropriate inquiries are being made, and that’s what I have done,” Mr Morrison told reporters in Sydney.

“I’ll see where that course takes us.”

But Mr Morrison indicated the violence in Afghanistan was unlikely to prevent the deportation of the seven Hazara men.

“People who are returned in these circumstances are found not to be refugees and not owed a protection by the Australian government,” he said.

Source: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/10/09/australia-look-afghan-attacks

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Hazaras to celebrate freedom at Omagh festival

June 17, 2014

The Omagh Celebrations will be held Sunday 22 June at Springvale Town Hall from 6pm

The Omagh Celebrations will be held Sunday 22 June at Springvale Town Hall from 6pm

The Hazara community of Melbourne is about to do something they are not used to – celebrate their local Hazaragi culture.

The refugee community is preparing for the inaugural Omagh Celebration, a festival of Hazaragi music, art, theatre and poetry.

Poet Farkhonda Akbari told 774 ABC Melbourne’s Richard Stubbs that the local Hazaras “have to bring back a culture that has been persecuted for 200 years.”

“We are trying to celebrate a culture that has never been celebrated,” said Ms Akbari.

Persecution and discrimination

I experienced a smile for the first time in Australia… This is a place we can actually practice our culture.

Farkhonda Akbari

 

Around 7 million Hazaras live in the ethnic region of Hazarajat in Afghanistan.

It is estimated more than four million more live as refugees in Iran and Pakistan.

Central Asian in appearance, Hazaras are predominantly from the Shiite Muslim minority and have been openly targeted by the Taliban.

Those living as refugees in Iran face daily discrimination, according to Farkonda Akbari.

“Most of their kids are not allowed to go to school or go to university,” said Ms Akbari.

“There are some schools run by the the Hazaras themselves but they can’t go to university when they finish school, they can’t buy a house.”

Ms Akbari lived in Iran for three years as a child.

“Just walking down the street there are things thrown at you,” she said.

“You had to strip your identity, your cultural identity off to be able to live.”

Freedom and opportunity

 

Around 20,000 Hazaras now live in Australia, approximately 9000 of whom reside in Melbourne’s south eastern suburbs.

“Australia has the biggest Hazara community of any Western country,” said Ms Akbari.

She said in contrast to Iran, her experience of settling in Australia was one of “welcome and warmth.”

“I experienced a smile for the first time in Australia,” she said.

“I call it the golden day.”

She said Hazaras in Australia now have the opportunity to revive their culture.

“You are not discriminated against, you are not bullied or anything when you walk down the street,” she said.

“This is a place we can actually practice our culture.”

Celebration

Multicultural Arts Victoria ran music, poetry and theatre workshops for the Hazara community in preparation for the Omagh Celebrations.

Ms Akbari teamed up with fellow poet Alia Gabres to run the poetry workshops, which she said fell into two parts.

“One part is for reciting the folklore Hazara poetry that have been passed down for generations from people to people,” said Ms Akbari.

“At the same time there are people who are writing themselves from their own experience.”

Participants in the workshops have written about the political situation in Afghanistan as well as more personal stories.

“We have a lady who’s talking about how to be a Hazara mother.”

Ms Akbari is currently studying a Masters of International Relations with the aim of working “from Canberra to Kabul.”

In 2012 she returned to Afghanistan while working with Human Rights Commission investigating alleged violations of humanitarian law by US troops.

“I have two homelands I have Australia and I have Afghanistan.”

The Omagh Celebrations will be held Sunday 22 June at Springvale Town Hall from 6pm.

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-16/omagh-celebrations/5526722

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Spotlight on Dandenong’s community of Afghan Hazaras by award-winning photojournalist Barat Ali Batoor

June 09, 2014

WBarat Ali Batoor is never far away from his trusty camera. Picture: Valeriu Campan

Barat Ali Batoor is never far away from his trusty camera. Picture: Valeriu Campan Source: News Limited

Barat Ali Batoor is always focussed on putting the spotlight on his community. Picture: V

Barat Ali Batoor is always focussed on putting the spotlight on his community. Picture: Valeriu Campan Source: News Limited

A WALKLEY-AWARD winning photojournalist will showcase an exhibition on the Afghan Hazara community next month in Dandenong.

Barat Ali Batoor’s work will be on display at the Walker Street Gallery from July 3 to 26 and aims to provide insight into the day-to-day lives of Hazaras in the city and the valuable contributions they make.

Immigration to Australia increased in the late 1990s as attacks by the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan rose substantially.

Today, there are an estimated 12,000 Hazaras living in Greater Dandenong and Casey.

Mr Batoor, a Hazara himself, worked as a photojournalist in Afghanistan and has been published in the Washington PostNewsweekand The Wall Street Journal.

The Dandenong local spent four months researching and shooting the exhibit.

“I was thinking about how much they must have changed from when they first arrived and didn’t have any education and English,” Mr Batoor said.

“This story is about that, and in the exhibition I photographed people who started as labourers or working in meat factories, but now have their own businesses.

“It is mostly success stories.”

Mr Batoor said the exhibition would shed light on both the Hazara culture and asylum seeker issues.

“All we get from the media and news is mounting propaganda about asylum seekers and refugees,” he said.

“We have thousands of asylum seekers on bridging visas with no work rights, but if given the opportunity they will also shine and contribute to the community.”

 

One of Mr Batoor’s images: Najafi Barber Shop in Dandenong Arcade. Picture: Barat Ali Bat

One of Mr Batoor’s images: Najafi Barber Shop in Dandenong Arcade. Picture: Barat Ali Batoor/Supplied Source: Supplied

 

*A Hazara’s life:

n Hazaras are the third largest ethnic group in Afghanistan, at about 2.8 million, and have a population of more than 500,000 in neighbouring Pakistan.

n They are mostly Shia Muslims, making them targets for violence by extremist Sunni Muslim groups such as the Taliban and Lashkar-e-Jhangri.

n Thousands have been killed in recent years in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Source: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/south-east/spotlight-on-dandenongs-community-of-afghan-hazaras-by-awardwinning-photojournalist-barat-ali-batoor/story-fngnvmhm-1226945531506

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Hazards of identity | Uncertainty and death stalk the Hazaras wherever they go

May 27. 2014

Herald Exclusive: Hazards of Identity

Herald Exclusive: Hazards of Identity

“Every morning, as I step out of my house to drop my children to school, the fear of being recognised haunts me,” says 32-year-old Fatima, a member of the Hazara community living in Karachi’s Hussain Hazara Goth. “If I hear footsteps approaching behind me, I think to myself, ‘Could this be my killer?’ I quickly step into a rickshaw but as it drives out of the alley, with the sound of any motorcycle passing by, I prepare myself to be shot from any direction,” says the round-faced brunette, her hazel eyes visibly filled with grief.

Most of the 13,000 Hazaras living in Karachi moved to the city to avoid persecution and the deadly attacks they were facing, both for their sectarian beliefs and ethnic identity, in Quetta and other parts of Balochistan. “I could not stay in Quetta any longer,” whispers Batool Ali, shuddering with fear, as she recalls the June 2012 bomb attack on her university bus. “I was sitting in the back of the bus, so I survived with injuries,” she pauses, wiping away her tears. “Every time I passed by that road, the entire incident replayed in my head; blood and bodies were everywhere; my friends were lying on the road, dead. It was too much to bear.” Traumatised, she stopped going to the university, and decided to enroll herself in Karachi instead.

She discovered that life in Karachi was not as easy as she had expected. Security remained elusive and there was no official or non-government support for Hazaras under death threats. Then there were logistical issues.

Karachi does not have many hostels to accommodate those who come here for studies and don’t have families here. Ali now lives with some distant relatives. But, as she says, at least she does not have to cross the same road everyday where she lost many of her friends. That, for her, is a huge emotional relief. ‘It is better than dying a ruthless death,’ is how many Hazaras justify their migration from Quetta to Karachi.

For many of them, however, it changes nothing. Even in Karachi, they live under constant fear. Many Hazaras living in Hussain Hazara Goth complain that their places of worship come under continuous attacks and their women are stalked and threatened when they are seen on the streets. “I hardly step out of my house, except when necessary. When I do, it is almost as if I am paralysed by fear,” says Fatima, born and raised in Karachi. Her fear is mirrored by the whole Hazara community, including the rickshaw driver who takes her around. “He is the sole bread earner of his family. What if he gets killed because of me?” she asks.

For more than 600,000 Hazaras across Pakistan, such fears are part of their daily routine. The uncertainty of making it back home alive each day, or questioning whether they will see their children, siblings, parents and relatives alive, has become the basic reality of their lives.

The first terrorist attack on the Hazaras took place in Quetta in the late 1990s but the deadliest so far have been two blasts in the first two months of 2013, which together led to the death of around 200 people, including women and children. According to Nazish Brohi, an independent researcher and human rights activist based in Karachi, “Hazaras are targeted in waves of religious extremism sweeping the country. They are killed because they are Shia.” She points out that ethnic identity could be an additional reason for Hazaras becoming targets of sectarian killers. “Because of their ethnicity, they are physically distinct,” she says. “But, it is important to see that Shias are being targeted across the country — in Karachi, in Hangu, in Gilgit, in Kohat and in Quetta.”

Many Hazara women living in Quetta and Karachi have an additional problem to take care of: They live by themselves, without their male relatives around. Men of their families – husbands, brothers and fathers – have left to seek refuge elsewhere in the world, mostly Australia.

Fatima lives with her two sisters and her brother’s wife. “We help each other run our households and raise our children, who are all under the age of 10.”

It is hard to live without any men in the house, says Fatima, but it was harder when they were around because of the constant anxiety and terror the women would go through each time the men stepped out of the house. “My sisters and I would take turns to call them, incessantly, just to be sure that they were alive,” she says, her voice lowering to a level barely audible. She pauses, just long enough to gather herself, “It became part of our routine — the fear, the insecurity. It was making us all miserable.”

Frustrated by this intolerable uncertainty, the men left Pakistan in search of safety and security. “At least, I know my husband and my brother are alive. I guess this is enough for now,” says Fatima. Given the travails of travel, men do not take women along with them as they embark on their arduous journey across borders and through seas. This leaves behind the women to not just run their households but also to take care of their ageing in-laws and parents. “We can’t just pack up everything and leave. It is not easy. Our parents, relatives and in-laws all depend on us,” she tells the Herald.


Other shores, other worries


“Around 100,000 Hazaras have migrated from Balochistan to either other parts of Pakistan or outside the country,” says Tahir Hussain Khan, the vice president of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP). “The most common destinations for migrating Hazaras are Australia, Indonesia and New Zealand,” he says. Most of them are now living in Australia. Indonesia, too, is housing about 20,000 Hazaras (living there mostly illegally), he adds.

Fatima’s brother Abdullah is one of the fortunate ones who made it to Australia and was granted political asylum. Her husband, however, is still struggling in Saudi Arabia, like numerous others from his community who wake up each morning with the hope of living a normal life again.

For almost all of them, the only means to escape from Pakistan are illegal. The journey starts in Karachi and, passing through Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, is expected to end in Australia. The last leg of the journey usually comprises a highly risky boat ride across open seas between Indonesia and Australia. The travellers, generally, have little else to cling to, other than the hope to make it to the Australian shore; a possibility becoming increasingly uncertain, recently. “At least 1,000 Hazaras have drowned or have gone missing while trying to exit Pakistan,” says Khan.

Habibullah Manavi, a 22-year-old student from Quetta, could have been one of those. After walking through jungles, being mugged in Indonesia and held in a detention centre there for months, he finally got on to a boat to Australia, along with 34 other Hazara asylum seekers. Within 24 hours after the boat started its journey towards Christmas Island – a small Australian territory about 240 miles off the Indonesian coast – it capsized in a storm. He drifted on the sea for three days. While many of his co-travellers died in front of him, Manavi was rescued by Indonesian fishermen who brought him back to Indonesia, where authorities put him in a detention centre. After going through this ordeal for close to two years, only recently did he manage to get a valid visa for Australia.


On a prayer and a wing


“I did not want to go abroad but I had to do,” Manavi tells the Herald, on the phone from Indonesia. “The situation in Quetta was deteriorating by the day. I could lose my life in a random killing. I did not want to die like that,” he says.

In early July 2012, he travelled from Pakistan to Malaysia on a valid visa and met a human smuggler there, who arranged for his journey to Indonesia by boat. “I stayed in Kuala Lumpur for two days and paid 2,000 US dollars to get to Indonesia. After many weeks, he ended up not in Jakarta but in an Indonesian prison. “I remained in lock-up for a month with many others like me. Each of us was made to pay bribes at different rates for our release.”

Once out of prison, Manavi again contacted the human smuggler who helped him reach the Indonesian district of Bogor, where he joined a small community of Hazaras all waiting to go to Australia. Like him, they all had landed there after bribing their way through the Indonesian prisons and paying heavy amounts of money to human smugglers along the way. After many a twist and turn, Manavi managed to secure a berth on the ill-fated boat to Christmas Island.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says there are around 8,262 registered asylum seekers including Hazaras. Since the country is not a signatory to the 1951 United Nations convention on refugees, it therefore, does not let anyone stay as a refugee on its territory. But the UNHCR and International Organisation for Migration (IOM) run small centres within Indonesia where applications are processed for refugee status and those who get that status are then resettled in other countries. Of the many thousand asylum seekers in Indonesia, only 2,078 have received the status of refugees from the UNHCR, with the cases of more than 750 sent to different countries for resettlement. Hazaras cannot legally find work in Indonesia and even if they are under UNHCR’s watch, they have to survive on a meagre monthly stipend. “I live in a community house in Yogyakarta under the supervision of UNHCR and IOM. There are 40 Hazaras here. We are not allowed to work but we can roam around the city,” Manavi tells the Herald.


Brain drain


According to the HRCP, Hazaras leaving Pakistan are not illiterate and poor— as is generally the case with economic migrants from other parts of the country. “Among them are businessmen, highly educated workers and senior government officials,” says Khan of HRCP.

Amjad Hussain, 40, a senior Hazara journalist, is one of them. Till 2010, he was based in Quetta, working as a reporter with a prominent private television news channel. Then, he started receiving death threats. While he was in Islamabad on a reporting assignment, his best friend was shot on April 16, 2010, right outside the main entrance of the bank where he was working, on Quetta’s Jinnah Road. He succumbed to his wounds before reaching the hospital. When a large number of people from the Hazara community gathered at the hospital to receive his body, a suicide bomber exploded himself at the entrance of the emergency ward, killing many more.

Hussain received a call the same night. “The person on the phone told me that I was his next target,” he says. His employer transferred him to Islamabad for his safety but he kept receiving warnings against reporting under his own name. The threats also made him write to the then Australian Prime Minister and the Australian immigration minister, asking them for a work visa. But his only option was a refugee status.

Knowing that life in Australia would not be easy as a refugee, Hussain, however, decided that it would definitely be “more promising than staying in Pakistan,” where he faced constant threats to his life. He now lives in Australia waiting to become a legal refugee, having left behind a long and successful career in journalism, as well as his wife and two children.

Most Hazaras choose Australia as their best bet, because they have community support there. As they generally are a close- knit society, they are offered all kinds of help from the community upon reaching there.

Even the few fortunate ones who, like Hussain, are able to make it to Australia on legal documents, may have to wait for over a year to have their applications for refugee status approved. Faced with ever-increasing numbers of asylum seekers and economic migrants trying to reach Australia, the government there has tightened its border control and made its immigration rules and regulations very stringent. For instance, anyone applying for asylum in Australia on the basis of a threat to his life, while in Pakistan, must provide evidence of the threat. Many Hazara families in Quetta and Karachi, indeed, meticulously put together all photographic evidence of any attacks against them, in case they need it to apply for asylum in Australia.

Australian authorities are also making a lot of effort to limit the number of asylum seekers, including clamping down on human traffickers as well as working closely with countries where most asylum seekers originate from. Australian officials, for instance, are collaborating with Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to ensure that those leaving Pakistani airports and other exit points for Australia have valid travel documents. For those trying to reach Australia by boat, rules and regulations have become even stricter. The Australian High Commission in Pakistan has put up huge bilingual billboards – in Urdu and Hazargi – in Quetta to warn potential migrants that anyone seeking to illegally enter Australia by boat “will never make Australia [their] home”.

Journalist Hussain, says these precautions will deter few, if any, Hazaras from trying to leave Pakistan. They face a certain death if they stay in Quetta or Karachi but, if they try to make it to Australia; they have a slim chance of surviving. They will always be ready to take that chance, no matter how slim, he tells the Herald.

This report was originally published on Dawn.com. Click on this link to read timeline of Hazara Killing in Pakistan in the past decade: http://www.dawn.com/in-depth/hazards-of-identity/

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