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441-01110 (Foreign affairs)

Paper petition

Original language of petition: English

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:

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

Whereas, tens of thousands of Hazaras were forcefully displaced from their lands while many other thousands were forcefully proselytized (from Shia to Sunni), raped and enslaved from 1891-1893;

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

Whereas, the Hazaras continue to face systemic and targeted persecution in post-2001 Afghanistan, such as the killings of newborn infants in Dasht-e-Barchi`s maternity ward in May 2020 or the targeted attacks in Behsud (Maidan Wardak province), Jibrail (Herat) and Jalalabad (Nangarhar) from January to March of 2021;

Whereas, Canada has expended $3.6 billion in assistance to Afghanistan and lost 158 brave men and women in uniform in the fight against the Taliban;

Whereas, Afghanistan remains one of the largest recipients of Canada's international financial assistance;

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

1. Formally recognize the 1891-1893 ethnic cleansing perpetrated against the Hazaras as a Genocide.

2. To designate September 25th as Hazara Genocide Memorial Day.

3. Support Bill C-287 to ensure that all development assistance sent from Canada to Afghanistan is contributing to the peace and security of the region for all peoples.

Response by the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Rob Oliphant

Canada has consistently 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. Alongside our international allies, Canada continues to call upon all states to adhere to their obligations under international human rights law, including the rights of women, girls, and minority groups.

Canada has also consistently called on the de facto Taliban authorities to respect Afghanistan’s international commitments, including protecting the fundamental rights of all Afghans. Canada believes 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. The Government of Canada has no intention of recognizing the Taliban as the government of Afghanistan.

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 Canada has publicly condemned attacks against the Hazara community in Afghanistan, including on April 19, 2022, against Hazara students in Kabul and on September 30, 2022, at the Kaaj education center in Kabul that killed more than 50 people, mostly Hazara girls studying for exams. Attacks such as this are reprehensible, and remind all of the persecution, discrimination, and targeted attacks that ethnic and religious minorities, in particular the Hazara community, face in Afghanistan at the hands of armed groups.

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 community, in every sphere of the Afghan society, as their participation is crucial to ensuring a sustainable peace. Canada has been vocal in championing a strong human rights mandate for the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, and welcomed the appointment of Richard Bennett as the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Afghanistan.

Canada is also providing humanitarian assistance to respond to the needs of vulnerable populations in Afghanistan and neighbouring countries, contributing $143 million just last year alone. Canada is likewise supporting a multi-sectoral humanitarian response across Afghanistan, including a particular emphasis on the provision of life-saving food and nutrition assistance. Thanks to Canadian support, humanitarian partners provided life-saving food assistance to more than 22 million people and nutrition assistance to more than 6 million women and children last year.

Canada has a proud history of helping the world’s most vulnerable, including a longstanding commitment to the people of Afghanistan. At present, the Criminal Code’s anti-terrorist financing provisions inadvertently place significant constraints on the delivery of international assistance. That is why on March 9, 2023, The Minister of Public Safety, introduced legislation to facilitate humanitarian aid in Afghanistan and other geographic areas controlled by terrorist groups. Bill C-41, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, will make important changes to the Criminal Code to allow desperately needed aid to be delivered by Canadian organizations to the people of Afghanistan. These changes to the Criminal Code support Canada’s deep commitment to the people of Afghanistan, while upholding our domestic and international obligations to combat terrorism. 

Canada has also committed to resettling at least 40,000 vulnerable Afghan nationals to Canada through special immigration programs - one of the largest commitments in the world. This includes a humanitarian immigration stream, which focuses on vulnerable Afghans, including members of religious and ethnic minorities, women leaders, LGBTQ people, human rights defenders, journalists, and those who have helped Canadian journalists, and family members of former Afghan interpreters. Thanks to these efforts, Canada has already welcomed more than 28,000 Afghans, including Hazaras, to Canada.

Presented to the House of Commons
Cathay Wagantall (Yorkton—Melville)
February 6, 2023 (Petition No. 441-01110)
Government response tabled
March 22, 2023
Photo - Cathay Wagantall
Conservative Caucus

36 signatures

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