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Afghanistan: Hazara Community

Volume 744: debated on Tuesday 30 January 2024

15. What discussions he has had with his international counterparts on the situation of the Hazara community in Afghanistan. (901247)

The UK works closely with the international community including the G7 and G20 and through the UN to protect the human rights of all of Afghanistan’s people and to co-ordinate a consistent international response. In December my colleague the Minister for South Asia in the other place raised the recent attacks on Hazaras with the UN assistance mission in Afghanistan.

Last week the hon. Member for Bedford (Mohammad Yasin) and I met members of our respective Hazara communities. They also regularly attend the all-party parliamentary group on Hazaras, which is chaired by the hon. Member for Peterborough (Paul Bristow). My concern is that the kidnaps, rapes and persecution that the Taliban regularly use against the Hazara women and girls largely go unreported due to a lack of diplomacy or to journalists being unable to access the region. Would the Minister or a member of her team be prepared to meet those whose families are still stranded in the region and are subject to what is essentially the ethnic cleansing of the Hazara people?

The hon. Lady sets out some of the shocking issues that we know about. Indeed, Daesh claimed responsibility for the November attacks and we are continuing to see these challenges. I will happily take back her question to my colleague, and I am sure that he will be happy to meet them.

Since the summer of 2021, when the hopes and dreams of so many women and girls in Afghanistan were snuffed out, we have been struggling to get a strategy together. For 20 years the UK, international partners and Afghans themselves fought for a more hopeful future for women and girls. Will the Minister outline what steps are being taken with international partners to develop a sustained strategy for working in the region so that we can regain a sense of hope for the 40 million Afghans left behind to a future devoid of opportunity?

The hon. Lady highlights the frustration that we all feel. We are working closely with international partners at a number of levels to ensure credible monitoring not only of the violence and threats against religious minorities but of the challenges for women and girls across the piece. We co-sponsored a Human Rights Council resolution extending the mandate of the UN special rapporteur to monitor and report on the human rights situation, to try to make decisions together on how to tackle it.