Najeeba Wazefadost came to Australia as a child refugee in September 2000 by a perilous journey by boat. She is now president of Hazara Women of Australia and I interviewed her for Green Left TV at a 500-strong Hazara community demonstration in the centre of Sydney on February 20 to protest the ongoing massacres of Shia in Pakistan.
See the GLTV video and photos of the protest below.
“Hazaras all over the world have been persecuted for so many years, especially in Pakistan. Lately we've had seen many Hazaras killed – slaughtered mercilessly. But unfortunately, the Pakistan government has been very quiet. It has been silent on all the targeted killings that have happened.
“Actually it is no longer just targeted killings, it is a genocide. This needs to stop.
“We need to condemn these targeted killings of Shia. It has happened many times in the last year. It has happened in the same city, Quetta, again. It has happened against the shame Shia community of Hazara again.
“Where is the UN? Where is Human Rights Watch? Where is the Pakistan government raising its voice to bring some changes to give peace to our people?
“The Australian government is very concerned about the number of refugee arrivals in Australia. But if it really wants to decrease this number then they need to put pressure on the Pakistan government about the way it treats the basic human rights of Hazaras. They should put pressure on the Pakistan government to provide safety and security for these people so they are not forced to flee to other countries like Australia.”
Nick Reimer, a spokesperson for the Sydney Refugee Action Coalition told Green Left TV:
“The Australian government is complicit with the Pakistani government in the outrages going on in cities like Quetta because Australian money is funding measures that are trapping Hazara people in Pakistan because our government is so desperate to prevent them coming here as refugees and making claims for our protection.
“Australia should welcome Hazara refugees, as it should welcome all other refugees. We should process them in the community when they arrive here and apply for asylum. They should be able to live decently while their refugee applications are being processed. Which should give them the support and care that they desperately need.”
Protests were held in major cities around Australia on February 20. Najeeba Wazefadost will be speaking at a forum on Voices from Afghanistan at Jubilee Room, NSW Parliament on February 27, 6-8.30pm. See Facebook event page here.