An open letter from the World-wide Poets addressed to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso, and President of the United States, Barack Obama.
After more than a century of systematic crimes such as genocide, slavery, sexual abuse, war crimes, and discrimination, being a Hazara still appears to be a crime in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Just on Thursday 11, January 2013, over one-hundred Hazara were killed in a terrorist attack in the city of Quetta, Pakistan. In recent years, more than a thousand Hazaras have been killed in similar organized attacks in that same country.
Today, in their homeland, Afghanistan, they are still not safe. Every year, they face attacks by Afghan Kuchis who are backed by the Taliban and the Afghan government. Their roads are blocked by Taliban gunmen with cars stopped and passengers killed. In the center of Afghanistan, where a huge population of Hazaras are marginalized, they do not have access to basic legal rights. They still face systematic discrimination and Taliban attacks. The result is that millions of Hazaras have fled to numerous countries as refugees or asylum seekers, frequently in terrible living conditions.
Hazara indigenous people made up nearly 67 percent of the population of Afghanistan prior to the 19th century. However, they suffered genocide and enslavement twice in 19th century. They were violently forced from most parts of their land, which is located in the south of modern Afghanistan. More than 60 percent of them were killed and thousands of them were sold as salves.
The entire history of the 20th century in Afghanistan has been marked by killing and discrimination against Hazaras. In August 1998, the Taliban killed more than ten thousand Hazaras in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif . Similar massacres quickly spread to other parts of Afghanistan. Destroying Hazara history and making and promoting a false history about them have been further strategies, in addition to violent crime.
For example, in March 2011, the Taliban notoriously destroyed the ancient Buddha sculptures of Bamiyan which are primary symbols of Hazara history and culture, and one of the most popular masterpieces of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity. Such is the history of two centuries of crimes against the Hazara, and from which they suffer today.
Therefore, we poets from around the world declare our solidarity with the Hazara people and ask you world leaders to take following steps to properly insure the security and safety of the Hazara people and culture:
1: Declare a state of emergency regarding Hazara circumstances authorized by the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
2: Put pressure on both the Afghan and Pakistani governments to immediately cease acts of discrimination against the Hazaras and to stop supporting terrorist groups who commit violent acts against them.
3: Ask the Refugee Convention's state parties to protect Hazara asylum seekers and grant them asylum.
4: Establish an international truth Commission to investigate the crimes against the Hazaras.
5: Open a comprehensive case in international courts such as the ICC.
6: Over 150 thousand international troops are in Afghanistan. They must ensure sure the safety of the Hazaras before they leave Afghanistan.
7: Ask international media to investigate and report on activities against the Hazara, particularly in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Poets Around the World
Gabriel Rosenstock Poet (Éire/Ireland)