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History of Tyranny – The ongoing persecution of Hazaras in Afghanistan

24 September 2021 • 1:00 – 2:00 pm CEST

The Hazara community is a visible ethnic minority in Afghanistan and many follow the minority Shia tradition in Islam. This has always made them vulnerable in Afghanistan.

The 25th of September marks a day of remembrance for atrocities committed on Hazaras between 1880 and 1901 under the reign of Amir Abdur Rahman. When the Pashtun Rahman started to extend his influence from Kabul by force to other parts of the country, the Hazaras were the first ethnic group to revolt against his expansionism. Pashtun tribes were sent to the central highlands to crush the revolt.

Rahman’s suppression of the Hazara community ranged from issuing unwarranted taxes, to assaults on Hazara women, massacres, looting and pillaging of homes, enslavement of Hazara children, women and men, and replacement of Shi’a clerics with their Sunni religious counterparts. The Hazarajat region was occupied by Rahman in 1893 and about 60 per cent of the Hazara population were killed under his rule.

Join this sofa talk to understand the significance of the 25th September as a memorial day for Hazaras, and how this history persists in their lived reality of persecution in present-day Afghanistan.


  • Dr. Niamatullah Ibrahimi is a Lecturer in International Relations at La Trobe University in Melbourne. He completed his PhD at the Australian National University in 2018, where his doctoral thesis examined the dynamics of contentious politics in Afghanistan since 2001. He has published extensively on Afghanistan’s politics and history. He is the author of, ‘The Hazaras and the Afghan State:  Rebellion, Exclusion and Struggle for Recognition’ (London: Hurst & Co. 2017), and co-author (with Professor William Maley) of ‘Afghanistan: Politics and Economics in a Globalising State’ (London: Routledge, 2020).
  • Dr. Melissa Kerr Chiovenda is an assistant professor of anthropology at Zayed University,  Abu Dhabi. She has conducted extensive ethnographic fieldwork on collective and cultural trauma among Hazaras in Afghanistan, and on placemaking among Hazara refugees in Greece.

Moderated by Prof. Joshua Castellino, Executive Director of Minority Rights Group.

When? 24 September 2021, 12.00 BST / 13.00 CEST. The event will last one hour.

Where? Click here to watch the event on Facebook. No account is required.

Watch the event replay

Photo: Members of the Hazara community in Bamiyan province attending Dambura Festival. Credit: Eshaq Akrami.