The ICHRRF hosted guest speaker, Dr. Anarkali Kaur Honaryar, an exiled Afghan Sikh, a medical doctor, a former member of parliament and a Human Rights activist who spoke on gross Human Rights violations occurring in Afghanistan, perpetuated by the Taliban on religious minorities, women, and children.
Human Rights violations of Hindus, Sikhs and Christians continue to persist in Afghanistan and have intensified in the past 43 years following the Soviet invasion. A multitude of terrorist groups, including the Mujahideen regime have committed atrocities against marginalized Hindus and Sikhs in Afghanistan. Ranging from discriminatory laws, forced labor, unfair taxation, religious intolerance to ethnic cleansing via forced disappearances and unauthorized killing, marginalized persons continue suffering under Taliban rule. Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Shi'a Hazaras, Tajiks, and other religious and ethnic minorities are routinely excluded from society after having been forced to wear visible identifying markers in public and many have since fled the country to safety.
Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists are indigenous to Afghanistan, and are aboriginal people of that country prior to Islamic invasions. Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists are true sons of the soil in Afghanistan. This is their ancestral home. And yet, those who remain, currently less than 300, are unable to live safely and peacefully in a dignified manner. While the Hazara community initially received preferential treatment post 2001 and were able to become educated, ultimately, hundreds of Hazara’s were exterminated after Taliban takeover in 2021.
While Pakistan's and Afghanistan's leaders tended to blame the US invasion for their strife, ultimately, several months after the US left, there still is no peace in Afghanistan. The Taliban's words and actions are inconsistent. They force religious norms and policies on all remaining citizens that they seemingly do not force onto their own families. Women are required to wear hijabs and are unable to access higher education. However, the women of some Taliban leaders live abroad and are not subjected to the same expectations. Moreover, not all women residing in Afghanistan are Muslim. Thus, these citizens and their advocates struggle to understand the imposed expectations.
Christians are also subjected to these imposed lifestyles. More prevalent in the last 20 years, there are approximately 4,000 Christians living in Afghanistan who had converted out of Islam after the 2001 US invasion. The Taliban is not in support of Christianity, so these persons live incognito.
Religious minorities and women yearn for dignified lives where they can return to their motherland, work a meaningful career, live their lives, take care of their families, and live in harmony in accordance with their respective religions and customs as they have done for thousands of years. They do not want to live in foreign countries as refugees. Hindus and Sikhs desire to return to their country of origin and not live by Taliban customs.
The ICHRRF appeals to the international community to not give up on Afghanistan for the sake of women, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and other religious minorities living in Afghanistan and who wish to return to their homes. The ICHRRF urges international organizations to raise their voices in support of Afghan Sikhs and Hindus and to continue to document human rights violations. The ICHRRF appeals to international organizations to advocate for the safe return and peaceful living of Hindus and Sikhs in Afghanistan. The ICHRRF also appeals to all governments to not recognize the Taliban government in Afghanistan.