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Looking for a promised land – the Hazaras of Dandenong

May 15, 2014

Bestway boysDSC0449

Walk into the Bestway Supermarket on Dandenong’s Lonsdale Street and you’ll immediately see 20 litre cans of sunflower oil and 80 litre cooking pots stacked neatly near the entrance.

There are also posters advertising Quran classes, English lessons and home child care.

This simple social accoutrement gives you an oblique insight into Dandenong’s close-knit Afghan Hazara community.

Bestway’s co-owner Mohammad Reza says: “Australians come in and see the big pots and they laugh. But what they don’t realise is that if we have a get-together or a party at someone’s house – and we Hazara have lots of these functions –  there will be 60 or 70 people and they all have to be fed.”

Reza was one of the first Hazaras to settle in Dandenong in the late 1990s. He worked for three years in a slaughterhouse in Pakenham and then opened a small shop on Thomas Street, one block back from the main drag. He sold groceries and other items to an almost exclusive Afghan and Iranian clientèle. In January Reza and his brother and a cousin opened the Bestway Supermarket on a prime spot in central Dandenong opposite the imposing, recently refurbished Drum Theatre. The tidy, well-stocked shop serves as many locals as it does Afghans; you can buy Vegemite and Tim Tams as well as sheep’s brains and Lavash bread.

The Hazara community around Dandenong has grown steadily over the past fifteen-or-so years to the point where there are now an estimated 12,000 living in the area which now extends to Narre Warren, Hampton Park and Cranbourne.

The first Hazaras arrived in the late 1990s as attacks on them in Afghanistan and in the Pakistani city of Quetta, to which many had fled from the Taliban, increased exponentially.

Hazarav protest_DSC0626As mostly Shia Muslims, the Hazara are targets for violence by extremist Sunni Muslim groups such as the Taliban and Lashkar-e-Jhangri. More than 1500 have been killed and 4000 maimed over the past decade in Pakistan and not a single perpetrator has been brought to justice in that time. It is not known how many more have been killed by the Taliban inside Afghanistan.

Hazaras are the third largest ethnic group in Afghanistan, at about 2.8 million, the majority of whom are Shiite Muslims. They also have a population approaching 500,000 in neighbouring Pakistan.

The word Hazar means ‘‘thousand’’ in Persian and some experts believe they are descendants of Mongol soldiers left by Genghis Khan in the 13th Century; a theory supported by the Hazaras’ distinctive Asiatic facial features. The Hazara comprise the largest ethnic group seeking asylum in Australia and this exodus from terror in Afghanistan and Pakistan has produced a two tier community among the Hazara in Dandenong.

There are those who have jobs or businesses and relatively settled and comfortable lives. And there are those who arrived after August 2013 – as Australian politics became consumed with the ‘boat people’ issue – who do not have work rights and whose futures are uncertain.

The asylum seekers without work rights are typically single men, sharing cheap housing and existing on benefits payments that are less than the dole. Despite this, the Hazaras have built a vibrant community and sub-economy in Melbourne’s south-east.

Photographer Barat Ali Batoor, who is compiling a photo exhibition on the community, says the Hazara community is defined by its circumstances.

“It’s a very close community because we are all a long way from home and we all know what is happening there – there have been so many Hazaras killed in the past few years and anyone who knows anything about the political situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan will tell you that it is only going to get worse,” he said.

Batoor, who worked as a photojournalist in Afghanistan and whose exposure of the sex slave trade in his home country earned him international recognition and made him a target for the Taliban and conservative interests, says there are strong cultural bonds in the Hazara community.

“Hazaras tend to look out for each other and they’re very social. In Dandenong there is a very strong Hazara cultural scene. There are youth groups, music groups, theatre, sporting groups and other community activities,” he said.

Mohammad Danesh runs a recycling business. He came to Australia in 2005 as a refugee from Ghazani Province in Afghanistan sponsored by family members already living here. Originally, he settled in Sunshine – at the time there were five or six Hazara families living there.

“We stayed about a year,” he said. “Then we moved to Narre Warren South – close to Dandenong – where the majority of Afghans live,” Mohammad said. “It was easier to communicate and connect with the community,” he said. Mohammad opened a supermarket and grocery business with some partners. After two-and-a-half years he left open a recycling business which is still running.

Mohammad’s son Bashir runs a travel agency and money exchange in a Dandenong arcade dominated by Afghan and other immigrant-run businesses. Bashir was 13 when he arrived in Australia and completed his VCE and went on to study international business and aviation.

“Language is one of the main issues for Afghans looking for work here. So it’s very important to learn English,” Bashir said. “Because I was quite young when I came to Australia it was easier for me,” he said.

Bashir says there is a small Hazara-based economy running in the Dandenong area which provides some employment for newly arrived migrants and refugees.

“We have, for example, Hazara businesses which import things you can’t buy in Australian shops. This makes it easier for people in the community to get their traditional goods and it gives some people jobs.”

Not far from Bashir’s arcade, lives a man who does not have a job nor a business to run. ‘Syed’ fled his home in Quetta in fear of his life – leaving behind his wife and children and his elderly mother. As a middle ranking public servant and a Hazara, he attracted the attention of the Taliban.

“I had to leave because there were men with guns looking for me. My colleagues at work told me not to come to work because these men had come to my office looking for me,” Syed said.

Syed arrived in Australia after August 2013 and so does not have the right to work. “It is very difficult for us because we cannot work. We just sit at home with nothing much to do and with very little money,” he said.

Asylum seekers receive 89 per cent of Centrelink benefits – or just over $200 a week for a single adult. “It is very hard. We want to work but we cannot. We would like to work to support ourselves and our families – we do not want to take money from the Australian Government,” Syed said.

Taiba Kiran, an Education Counsellor with refugee and migrant settlement agency AMES, and herself a Hazara, sees her own community from a range of perspectives. “It’s a very close-knit community and people are very helpful toward each other. People already here, are established and working to help new arrivals to settle in,” she said.

Kiran says Dandenong became a magnet for the Hazara because a critical mass of population was achieved. “You had a few Hazara living here and that attracted more and then more,” she said.

“There was also affordable and available housing and all the key services are here,” Kiran said.

“The Hazara are just the most recent wave of immigration that Dandenong has seen over decades. You had the Greeks and Italian in the 1950s, then Albanians and Vietnamese – now its Afghans. Businesses were established here that provided the special requirements – halal meat and other food imported from Afghanistan or surrounding countries.” She said.

Zakia_DSC0916Another prominent Hazara woman is Zakia Baig. She founded the Australian Hazara Women’s Friendship Network (AHWFN)in November 2012, with the aim of helping other Hazara women feel comfortable in Australia by providing them with a social network and building their confidence.

“Friendship is the main focus,” she said. “We want them to feel welcome, accepted, and part of the broader Australian community.”

Her organisation gives women the opportunity to receive regular training as well as free English classes in their own language. They start by building basic skills, such as English, finding friends in the Dandenong community and gaining the knowledge and confidence to access services, use public transport and learn computer skills.

Zakia won SBS’s My Community Matters competition in 2013 – by submitting a story outlining her journey from Pakistan to Australia, speaking about the importance of community and women’s rights – and got the chance to share it with then Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Australia Day.

“We are working especially with newly arrived and older women who suffer isolation and a lack of connection with the broader community,” Zakia said.

“It is alarming for us because we can see that in the future our women might suffer even greater isolation. But we are meeting this challenge by taking them out and helping them mingle in the wider community. A lot of our women are not well educated or literate and this makes for a lot of communication problems.

“The cultural differences are also an issue. Many Afghans, and particularly women, have no understanding of other cultures and so no way of making friends from other cultures.

“One of our strengths though is that we are a close community and everyone tries to help one another – this is because we’ve been living in areas where discrimination and repression of Hazaras is very high.”

Zakia says Hazaras are different from most other ethnic groups in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.

“I think the Hazaras are more enterprising, more open and welcoming. They are secular, accepting and peaceful. Hazaras have the attitude that if you’re going to survive, then you have to find a way to get on with people and make a life,” she said.

Zakia says the newly arrived Hazara asylum seekers who don’t have work rights are accepted and included by more established members of the community but that the longer standing members could do more.

“Newly arrived people are included very much in community events but they still have their challenges,” she said.

“For instance the local community could do more to provide English classes for this group,” she said. But overall, Zakia says the Hazara community is in good shape.

“I’m optimistic, as a community we are making progress. We have students going to uni – including young women – which would never happen in Afghanistan,” she said.

“More women are coming out of their homes and if they’re given opportunities, they are very capable and keen to find ways to make contributions and to shine,” Zakia said.

“These are very positive signs. Despite all the challenges we still face, Dandenong and Australia have been good for the Hazara.”

Bestway Supermarket owner Mohammad Reza is now an Australian citizen. He came here on an asylum seeker boat to escape the dangers he faced in his home city of Kabul.

“I am very happy to be here in Australia – not for myself but for my family. They are safe here and they have good lives,” he said. “My son is studying civil engineering at uni and my daughter is in Year 11. They are both studying hard and want to be successful for themselves and also to help our community.”

“I’m proud of my son and I dream sometimes that he will go back to Afghanistan one day as an engineer and help rebuild the country. My daughter wants to be a scientist and that is something we couldn’t dream of in Afghanistan. They would never let us do these things because we are Hazara.” Reza says many members of the Hazara community have family back home they worry about.

“I remember when I first came here, I would drive my car to a quiet place and cry because I felt bad about being away from my family,” he said.

“I’d love to go back to my country and take my children to show them how people live there – I consider my homeland like my mother. But unfortunately the people there won’t let me go back.”

Reza said Hazara people gravitated to Dandenong after a fledgling community was established.

“The immigration department put us all over the place so we had to find each other. We needed to help each other with learning English, finding work, schooling and even being able to shop for the things we needed.

“Also all the facilities were located here – immigration, Centrelink and doctors and a lot of people don’t have cars so they have to walk.

“Here in Dandenong it’s easy for us to connect with each other and community is very important to us Hazaras.

“Hazaras are very social; we are accepting and we can get on with anyone. We get together a lot in big groups – that’s why we need the big pots,” Reza laughs.

Source: http://amesnews.com.au/lead-story/looking-promised-land-hazaras-dandenong/



Filed under Hazara Persecution, Life after detention, Talented Asylum Seekers

Australia helping Pakistan stop Hazara asylum seekers from leaving: report

December 20, 2012

Children from the ethnic Hazara minority play in front of their cave home in Afghanistan

Children from the ethnic Hazara minority play in front of their cave home in the central town of Bamiyan some 240km north-west of Kabul, April 13, 2007. (Reuters)

Australia’s reported cooperation with Pakistan’s intelligence agencies to stop Hazara asylum seekers from leaving the country is “questionable and sordid”, Amnesty International says.

It follows an investigation by the Global Mail which quoted Pakistani officials confirming that Australian Federal Police had encouraged a policy of racially profiling people from the Hazara community, suspected of preparing to flee the country.

Hazaras are Shia Muslims and often face persecution from Sunni death squads in Pakistan. Their distinctive East Asian facial features make them an easy target.

“In getting involved with the intelligence agencies in Pakistan, Australia is involving itself in a very sordid and questionable environment, in which these Hazaras are facing really shocking threats, and are literally being killed every week,” Mustafa Qadri, a Pakistan researcher with Amnesty International, told Radio Australia.

Mr Qadri said it was known that Australia was providing financial and other assistance to Pakistani intelligence agencies to stop a range of racketeering in the country, including people smuggling.

“The Australian authorities are trying to disrupt the smuggling but in the process effectively supporting elements involved in a range of very sordid things,” he said.

“What we also see on the ground is that Australian authorities are trying to stop people from coming to Australia by saying that they won’t get asylum in Australia, that it’s on a very arduous journey … this is PR against that.”

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-12-20/an-australia-helping-pakistan-stop-hazara-asylum-seekers-from-l/4439262

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I am HAZARA | a special series by dawn.com

November 21, 2012

Photo Credit: dawn.com

Close to 1,000 Hazaras have been killed in targeted attacks and shootings in the capital of Pakistan’s largest province. The indifference towards the atrocities has forced this shrinking community to take escape routes and gamble between life at the promised land and death at the ocean.

Why would someone kill a Hazara? The question elicited different responses from social scientists, politicians, religious leaders and economists. Apart from the analytical reasons, there are others too: The organised graveyards, well-managed colonies, self-sufficient introvert people, and children who take art seriously and life lightly are among the distinguishing factors of these people. Hazaras, probably, are too refined for us to mourn their deaths, feel their loss and protest their killings. Their existence is the sole ray of light that challenges the darkness, which we have come to we love.

We have also conveniently chosen to look the other way because we are not Hazaras and our kids will never be killed because of their facial features, dialects and faith. The perception prevails that this persecution is for Hazaras only – but the areas of Sola-acre, Nasirabad, Syedabad and Nauabad remind us that these were once safe places too.

Legend has it that the title Hazara is derived from their grouping into battalions of 1,000 men which fought Genghiz Khan. Now, with the killing of close to one thousand Hazaras, this title has been redefined.
Read the full series here in Urdu: http://urdu.dawn.com/kon-hazara/

Read the full series in English here: http://dawn.com/i-am-hazara/


Filed under Analysis, Asylum Seekers in Indonesia, Boat Tragedy, Deportation, Detention Centers, HAS Exclusive, Other, People Smugglers, Talented Asylum Seekers

Hazaras in Pakistan Caught Between Persecution and the High Seas

September 07, 2012

Funeral in the Hazara graveyard in Quetta for victims of gunmen. Credit: Altaf Safdari/IPSFuneral in the Hazara graveyard in Quetta for victims of gunmen. Credit: Altaf Safdari/IPS

KARACHI, Pakistan, Sep 6 2012 (IPS) – It will be no less than a miracle if Nadir Ali makes it to Australia, where he planned to seek asylum. But with each passing day, since his boat went missing over two months ago, hopes are dimming.

Ali, a 45-year-old Shia Hazara daily wage earner from Quetta in Pakistan’s Balochistan province, had reached Indonesia and boarded the boat from Jakarta on May 22, along with 24 others, most of them from the same community. But the boat lost contact soon after it hit the high seas, and has been missing for over two months.

“We were told that the sea was rough and the boat was too small,” said Qadir Nayel, Ali’s younger brother speaking to IPS over the phone from Quetta. “But because there is no news of them having drowned, we are hoping against hope.” Nayel said his brother paid over 10,000 dollars for the passage.

But why are Hazaras fleeing the country?

In what looks like a rerun of history, the Hazara Shias, with a population of around 956,000 (nearly 600,000 of whom live in Quetta alone), are being persecuted again in Pakistan because of their ethnicity and their history of conflict with Sunni Muslims.

Most of the world’s 3.4 million Hazara people, easily recognisable by their Mongol-like features, live in Afghanistan. But some 120 years ago, many fled that country, where they were being persecuted by the dominant Sunni Pashtun tribes. In Pakistan they were well received, and some rose to important positions in the government.

Another 350,000 Hazara live in Iran.

Shias of all ethnicities account for about 20 percent of Pakistan’s Sunni-majority population of 180 million.

Hussain (name changed on request) lost five members of his family, including a maternal uncle, a widowed sister-in-law and her three children, when the boat they were travelling in was shipwrecked in high waters in the Indian Ocean in 2009.

“The last time my uncle spoke to me was before boarding the ship from Jakarta,” Hussain said. “He sounded very disturbed with the arrangement. He said if he’d known, he would never have ventured out in the first place. By morning we got the news that their ship had gone under and all of them had perished.”

In recent years, scores of Hazara Shias have fled Balochistan in southwest Pakistan. There are significant communities of Hazara in Europe, Turkey and Australia.

While official statistics are hard to come by and people are afraid to give information, the exodus has been fuelled by the rise in target killings of members of this community.

According to Abdul Khaliq, chairman of the Hazara Democratic Party, over 25,000 Hazaras have left Pakistan in the last decade, the vast majority of them in the last three years. “I’d say over 1,000 people have perished while making the perilous journey,” he told IPS over the phone from Quetta.

He was referring to the most common route followed by the fleeing Hazara, who go to Indonesia legally and then try to sneak into Australia illegally.

Ali Dayan Hasan, Pakistan director of Human Rights Watch, told IPS that the Hazara have been reduced to a “ghetto existence in Quetta.”

“They can only go about their daily business at the risk of their lives. It is hardly surprising that members of the Hazara community are seeking political asylum in large numbers, and it would be a very cruel host state indeed that would deny them the same,” he added.

For his part, Hussain said “Nobody wants to leave their country willingly; who would want to leave family and friends and take on a journey we all know is fraught with danger, but we have been pushed to the wall.”

Since the beginning of the year, 47 Shia Hazaras have been killed in 21 separate incidents of violence, according to the South Asia Terrorist Portal (SATP). In 2011, 203 Shias were killed, including 27 Hazaras.

Lately, they have been identified, forced out of buses and vans, and killed. Ambreen Agha, a researcher with the Institute for Conflict Management in New Delhi, which manages the SATP, terms the killing of Hazaras a “sectarian issue.”

“Their Shia identity has posed a threat to their existence in a society that is marred by religious intolerance, the existence of extremist formations, and subsequent impunity that sectarian ‘murderers’ enjoy within the legal and political framework of Pakistan,” she told IPS by email. “Sectarianism adds to the chaotic spirit of Islamabad.”

This was corroborated by HRW’s Hasan. “Hazaras are being targeted as part of a broader exercise in targeting all Pakistani Shias, but it is equally true that the Hazara suffer from double jeopardy – being ethnically distinct in addition to being Shia.”

HRW’s research indicates that the banned Sunni militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) is behind the killings. “It claims responsibility for these attacks,” said Hasan.

In June 2011, LeJ warned the Hazaras: “…now jihad against the Shia Hazara has become our duty. We will rest only after hoisting the flag of true Islam on the land of the pure – Pakistan.”

To Agha it means a “total failure or collusion” of the state machinery with these militant organisations.

Hasan said “The state may or may not be complicit in the LeJ’s murderous actions, but independent observers believe that law enforcement and intelligence agencies are, at the very least, turning a blind eye.”

Agha, who has been researching Hazara issues since 2010, complained that the Pakistani state has never “mounted any effective resistance” or carried out a “sustained effort to dismantle the hard-core sectarian militant outfits” that have linkages with both the religious parties and the Pakistani establishment.

“Unless Islamabad abandons its policy of tolerance towards the sectarian religious parties and their militant counterparts, there is little hope that Hazara Shias will continue to live in peace within the poisoned territorial boundaries of Pakistan,” she maintained.

Meanwhile, thousands of asylum-seekers from Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, many of whom belong to the Hazara community, have been trying to reach Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean – Australia’s closest point to Indonesia – in rickety, overcrowded vessels. Since late 2009, more than 600 people have died in the attempt to make it to the island.

In August, the Australian parliament tried to make changes in its immigration policy to deter asylum-seekers by deporting them to offshore detention centres. The move met with strong criticism from rights groups.

“It’s a big ocean; it’s a dangerous ocean,” said Prime Minister Julia Gillard. “We’ve seen too many people lose their lives trying to make the journey to Australia.” She had proposed sending asylum-seekers to Malaysia for processing, but the plan was rejected by Australia’s highest court.

Source: http://www.ipsnews.net/2012/09/hazaras-in-pakistan-caught-between-persecution-and-the-high-seas/

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Why The Hazaras Are Fleeing

September 07, 2012

Thousands of Hazaras attending funeral of victims of atrocious target killing (Source: Google)

Hazaras are the largest ethnic group coming to Australia by boat. They’re escaping sectarian massacres that may get worse after the end of the Afghan War, writes former refugee Hadi Zaher

Pakistan’s ethnic Hazaras, a community who are easily distinguishable because of their Asiatic appearance, have for over a decade born the brunt of ferocious massacres at the hands of religious extremists in Pakistan and Afghanistan. They also constitute the largest segment of asylum seekers arriving in Australia by boat.

Although the Afghanistan-Pakistan region is a consistent source of bad news, very little of the everyday mass murder of the Hazaras and other minority communities makes its way into the Australian news.

Members of the community are the target of execution style killings and massacres by Taliban and Al-Qaida affiliated militants who have vowed to rid Pakistan of the presence of minorities such as Hazaras. The frequency of these attacks has gone from a few attacks a month to multiple attacks per week.

The first victims of the attacks were lawyers, doctors, teachers, and public servants. Today, it’s the vegetable vendors, taxi drivers and passengers, students, laborers and the ordinary men, women and children who bear the brunt of the latest atrocities. In light of the recent changes to Australia’s offshore immigration regime and the mass following of SBS’s Go Back to Where You Come From, it is essential for Australian politicians and the wider community to know what the so-called boat people are fleeing and the circumstances that force people to flee their ancestral lands, leave behind their families and board rickety boats not knowing if they will ever make to our shores.

On the morning of 20 September 2011 a passenger bus carrying more than 60 people left the Pakistan city of Quetta, headed for the Iranian border. Among those on board were men of various backgrounds and ages. Some were pilgrims travelling to Iran to visit the shrines of various Shi’a saints. Most were traders and labourers hoping to perform manual jobs in Iran and provide for their families back home.

Some were teenagers and young men in their 20s who were fleeing the growing spate of killings and insecurity in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Men who hoped to go to Iran and eventually make their way to Europe and seek asylum. At around midday, some 30 kilometres south of Quetta, their buses were stopped by masked men armed with rocket launchers and Kalashnikovs.

Hazara passengers were forced off the buses at gunpoint, lined up and then shot. The wounded were then shot again and again as they lay bleeding on the ground, breathing their last breath, not knowing the crime for which they were being killed. The masked men then chanted, “Allah is great’ Shi’as are infidels”.

Mere hours later, as distraught relatives of the victims rushed to the scene of the incident, two further Hazaras were killed when masked men sprayed their car with bullets. The perpetrators filmed the massacre of the 26 Hazara men and later distributed the video through online news services and YouTube.

This massacre in Mastung was only one in a chain of targeted attacks against Pakistan’s minority communities, in particular members of the Hazara community who follow the Shi’a sect of Islam. In the year following the attacks, hundreds more Hazaras fell victim to discriminate attacks by the Taliban affiliated Sunni extremist group, Lashkar-e Jhangvi. The events in the last few days alone are a testimony to the ferocity and frequency of this gradual genocide in the making:

On 27 August, three Hazara men were killed and two injured when their taxi was attacked in broad day light on Quetta’s Spini Road, a few hundred metres from a checkpoint manned by Pakistani security forces.

On the morning of 30 August, a Shia judge along with his bodyguard and driver were killed as they made their way to the district courts.

On 1 September, seven Hazaras were killed in two coordinated attacks in the Hazaraganji area. Five of the victims were vegetable vendors who had arrived at the local vegetable market to purchase vegetables while two of the victims were waiting to board a bus to travel to Iran for work. While these attacks are discriminate in that they target Hazaras and Shias, Hazaras of all backgrounds are targeted indiscriminately.

The Pakistani state has consistently failed to apprehend the perpetrators of these attacks or clamp down on the extremist religious groups who openly and unabatedly preach hatred against the country’s minority Shi’as, Ahmedis, Christians and Hindus.

It continues to turn a blind eye to the presence of thousands of Islamic madrassas and Taliban training centres across the country. These centres are funded by petro-billionaires from Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar, and supervised by Pakistani security agencies that use these centres for the pursuit of larger geo-strategic goals such as proxy warfare in Afghanistan and Indian Kashmir.

The Pakistani military maintains a distinction between the good extremists and the bad extremists, depending on how useful they happen to be at the time. The courts are reluctant to punish militants, and often release men known to have been involved in multiple sectarian murders, facilitators of suicide bombers and clerics involved in preaching hate.

Last year, the Pakistan Supreme Court freed Malik Ishaq, the founder of the Lashkar-e Jhangvi. Ishaq had previously been detained in connection with 70 sectarian murders. Upon release, he was received and hailed as a hero by a crowd of tens of thousands. The organisation Ishaq founded continues to claim responsibility for attacks against Hazaras and Shi’as across Pakistan. Ishaq himself continues to attend political and religious rallies where he urges followers to teach the Shi’as a lesson.

The Hazaras are disappointed with apathy of the international community, in particular the inaction of the United Nations. In both Afghanistan and Pakistan, they continue to be victimised by militants who enjoy support from powerful elements within the government. They cannot turn to Pakistani security agencies in hope of protection and have for too long appealed to the international community to come to their aid — all to no avail.

Hazaras hold grave concerns about the implications of the planned US/NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014. The withdrawal, they suspect, will bring the Taliban back into power and mass murder will turn to full-scale genocide.

Desperate and fearful, some Hazaras make to it our shores in search of asylum. As such, Hazaras and other ethnic and religious minorities are in desperate need of full support and protection of the international community, including Australia.

The writer is a freelance journalist and can be reached @ChaiSabz

This news article was originally published here: http://newmatilda.com/2012/09/07/what-hazaras-are-fleeing

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Filed under Human Rights and Refugee Activists, Life after detention