Locked in and locked out: A reflection by Zaki Haidari

18 May 2024

Zaki Haidari is a human rights advocate, who is also, JRS Australia’s Employment Support Worker, a RACS – Refugee Advice and Casework Service Ambassador as well as a 2020 Australian Human Rights Commission Human Rights Hero. Zaki reflects on his journey to Afghanistan, the reality of being permanently temporary, yet finding welcome in Australia. 

“I am a refugee from Afghanistan, and I belong to a minority ethnic group, the Hazaras. We have been persecuted for a long time because of our ethnicity, religion, and values. In 2012, I was forced to leave Afghanistan. I was 17. Back home, my father was a medical doctor. The Taliban accused him of working with international armed forces in the country at the time. One day the Taliban took him away, and nobody has seen him since.  

The accusations against my father meant that the whole family was ‘criminal’ in the Taliban’s eyes.

I had no choice but to attempt a much more dangerous and uncertain journey, crossing many borders, travelling by plane, train, car, boat, and by foot, often for days in the middle of the night. I knew the chance of survival was rare. But I had no choice….” 

This reflection is an excerpt from a longer piece featured in Eureka Street (23 March 2021). Read the full reflection by clicking here.