October 7, 2022: Southasia Peace Action Network, Sapan, condemns the suicide bombing of 30 September that killed more than 40 girls, women and others at a higher education centre in Kabul. The blast at the Kaaj Educational Centre also represents yet another attack on the beleaguered Hazara community of Afghanistan.
We are astounded by Taliban authorities’ unwillingness to diligently follow up on the attack, and fear that more such attacks are in store for the Hazara community as well as girl students who demand basic human rights and dignity.
We ask the United Nations and the international community as a whole to find a way to get the Taliban regime to respond to the crisis. The situation is dire for the girl students of Afghanistan and the Hazara community as a whole, and there must be consultation between governments specifically to deal with this challenge. No geopolitical calculations should come into play amidst such an appalling humanitarian and human rights challenge.
We deplore the hands-off attitude of states near and far, including the governments of China, India and Pakistan who should be meeting in emergency sessions, instead of leaving the women and girls of Afghanistan alone, as also the Hazara community.
The 30 September killings at the Kaaj Educational Centre was doubly poignant given that the blast occurred minutes after the students had taken an oath reciting: “As an enlightened society tired of bullets and guns, I promise myself and companions that will not give up on life’ obstacles, will try harder than anybody else”.
Sapan members fear that the crimes against humanity represented by the genocidal attacks on the Hazara citizens of Afghanistan, the blast at the Kaaj Educational Centre, as well as the ongoing deprivation of education and a life of dignity for all Afghan women are being normalised in the eyes of news consumers worldwide.
We urge civil society organisations in each of the Southasian countries to speak up, and refuse to accept this a ‘new normal’, which only diminishes each of us.
We support the hashtag #StopHazaraGenocide and demand an end to killings in Afghanistan on the basis of caste, creed or religion.
Sapan urges the United Nations to go beyond work-to-rule to arouse the world’s conscience on Afghanistan, its girls’ overwhelming desire to go to school, and the Hazaras’ right to life.
Lead image credit: UN Photo/Aurora Alambra
Gratitude to all those who initiated and drafted this statement, edited it, and provided inputs and information including Kanak Mani Dixit, Neel Kamal and Beena Sarwar
About Sapan: The Southasia Peace Action Network, or Sapan, is a coalition of organisations and individuals calling for regional cooperation and freedom of movement in the region. It was launched in March 2021.
Note on Southasia as one word: Following the lead of Himal Southasian magazine, Sapan uses ‘Southasia’ as one word, “seeking to restore some of the historical unity of our common living space, without wishing any violence on the existing nation states”. Writing Sapan like this makes it a word which means ‘dream’.