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441-00941 (Foreign affairs)

Paper petition

Original language of petition: French

Petition to the House of Commons of Canada

We, the undersigned citizens of Canada, draw the attention of the House of Commons of Canada to the following:


Abdul Rahman Khan, Emir of Afghanistan, who was installed by the British government and received a subsidy from it, waged a genocidal campaign against the Hazaras from 1891 to 1893, wiping out the vast majority of this ethnic group;

Tens of thousands of Hazaras were forcibly displaced from their ancestral lands while many more thousands were forced to convert (from Shiism to Sunnism), raped and enslaved from 1891 to 1893;

In August 1998, hundreds, if not thousands, of Hazara men, women, children and elders were massacred in the cities of Mazar-e-Sharif and Bamiyan;

The Hazaras have continued to face targeted and systemic persecution in Afghanistan since 2001, such as the murder of newborns in the maternity ward of Dasht-e-Barchi in May 2020 or the ongoing attacks on Hazara education centres targeting young women and future generations of Hazaras, as in September 2022, April 2022 and May 2021;

Canada spent $3.6 billion on aid to Afghanistan and lost 158 brave men and women in uniform in the fight against the Taliban; and

Afghanistan has once again fallen under Taliban control since August 2021 and the Hazaras continue to be persecuted under this new regime.

Therefore, we, the undersigned, call upon the Government of Canada to take the following measures:

  • i. Formally recognize the 1891–1893 ethnic cleansing of the Hazaras as a genocide; and

  • ii. Designate September 25 as Hazara Genocide Memorial Day.

Response by the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Rob Oliphant

Respect for human rights is fundamental to the development of more peaceful, inclusive, and prosperous societies. The promotion and protection of human rights is an integral part of Canada’s foreign policy, and Canada consistently advocates for the rights of ethnic minorities around the world, including in Afghanistan, in both bilateral and multilateral forums.

Canada acknowledges that ethnic and religious groups in Afghanistan have suffered significantly from the past four decades of conflict. Canada closely monitors human rights abuses against ethnic and religious minorities in Afghanistan and has publicly condemned attacks against the Hazara, Sikh and Hindu communities in Afghanistan. The Minister of Foreign Affairs publicly denounced the tragic attack of April 19, 2022, against Hazara students in Kabul. Canada was also deeply troubled by the attack of September 30, 2022, at the Kaaj education center in Kabul. Attacks such as this are reprehensible, and serve as a grave reminder of the broader issues of persecution, discrimination, and targeted attacks that ethnic and religious minorities, in particular the Hazara, Sikh and Hinds communities, face in Afghanistan at the hands of armed groups.

Canada also notes the historic and systematic discrimination and persecution of the Hazara, Sikh and Hindu population in Afghanistan, and recalls the tragic events of 1891-1893, as well as those of August 1998. Events such as these should never happen again.

Canada has repeatedly expressed deep concern about the situation of ethnic and religious minorities in Afghanistan, and continues to call for the full inclusion of all Afghans into every aspect of society, regardless of ethnicity, religion, or gender. Canada, alongside its international allies, continues to call for adherence to obligations under international human rights law, including the rights of women, girls, and minority groups, and that international humanitarian law is upheld in all circumstances.

Canada has also consistently called on the de facto Taliban authorities to respect Afghanistan’s international commitments, including forming an inclusive and representative government and protecting the fundamental rights of all Afghans. Canada reiterates that ethnic and religious groups must be represented at all levels of Afghan government and society in order to help address the underlying problems facing the country, the root causes of discrimination and the enduring legacy left by decades of conflict. Canada has no intention of recognizing the Taliban as the government of Afghanistan.

So far, in 2022, Canada has allocated over $143 million in humanitarian assistance to respond to the needs of vulnerable populations in Afghanistan and neighbouring countries. Canada is supporting a multi-sectoral humanitarian response across Afghanistan, including a particular emphasis on the provision of life-saving food and nutrition assistance. For example, with Canadian support, humanitarian partners provided food and livelihoods support to 21.7 million people in need and acute malnutrition support to 5.2 million children and pregnant and lactating women between January and September 2022.

Canada will continue to work closely with trusted Afghan partners on the ground and international partners to bring attention to the persecution of ethnic and religious minorities in Afghanistan and to advocate for the meaningful inclusion of marginalized groups, including the Hazara, Sikh and Hindu, in every sphere of the Afghan society, as their participation is crucial to ensuring a sustainable peace.

The promotion and protection of human rights lies at the heart of Canada’s engagement in Afghanistan. Over the last two decades, Canada’s development and security support in Afghanistan has helped promote diversity and improve the safety of ethnic minority groups. Canada was vocal in championing a strong human rights mandate for the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) during UNAMA’s last mandate renewal, and welcomed the appointment of Richard Bennett as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Afghanistan on April 1, 2022. Canada is also exploring ways to continue its support for Afghan human rights defenders. Through engagement with like-minded countries, international organizations, and civil society organizations, the Government of Canada has been able to access unbiased and verified accounts of human rights abuses in Afghanistan. Such information is essential to inform the international community’s analysis, advocacy and engagement with the Taliban, and to lay the groundwork for accountability for perpetrators of human rights abuses.

Canada has committed to resettling at least 40,000 vulnerable Afghan nationals to Canada, one of the largest commitments in the world, through special immigration programs. This includes a humanitarian immigration program which focuses on vulnerable Afghans, including women leaders, LGBTQ people, human rights defenders, journalists, and those who have helped Canadian journalists, members of religious and ethnic minorities, and family members of former Afghan interpreters. Thanks to these efforts, Canada has already welcomed more than 27,000 Afghans, including Hazaras and Afghan Sikh and Hindu to Canada.

Presented to the House of Commons
Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe (Lac-Saint-Jean)
December 8, 2022 (Petition No. 441-00941)
Government response tabled
January 30, 2023
Photo - Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe
Bloc Québécois Caucus

27 signatures

Only validated signatures are counted towards the total number of signatures.