Relentless Atrocities: the Persecution of Hazaras

As one of the main ethnic groups in Afghanistan, Hazaras are Farsi-speaking and mostly Shi’a Muslims in a predominantly Sunni Muslim country. They are also distinguishable by their Asiatic appearance. Throughout Afghanistan’s history, Hazaras have suffered considerably under different regimes, enduring recurring massacres, enslavement, and forced displacement. Despite Afghanistan’s accession to the Rome Statute in 2003, the plight of Hazaras has not improved. Indeed, the assaults on Hazaras have only intensified in recent years, impacting virtually every aspect of their lives.

This article argues that the recent and ongoing attacks against Hazaras constitute a crime against humanity. In particular, I show, element by element, that there is a reasonable basis to believe that the assaults on Hazaras amount to persecution based on ethnic and religious grounds pursuant to article 7(1)(h) of the Rome Statute. Accordingly, the International Criminal Court and the global community must take urgent actions to investigate the relentless atrocities against Hazaras and to hold the perpetrators accountable. Failure to do so, as warned by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, may lead to a full-blown genocide.