On the sidelines of the 36th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, a Symposium titled Violations of Rights of non-Persian ethnicities by the Iranian State ‘ has been held.
The Tuesday event was organized by the Ahwazi Organization for the Defense of Human Rights and a number of other organizations from different countries including the International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Geneva International Center for Justice, the International Organization for Education and others.
Several revered figures spoke at the event, including Portugal’s Paolo Casca, former member of the European Parliament, Taher Boumedra, former representative of the UK at United Nations, Amad Al Quraishi, Political Analyst from Pakistan, Karen Parker, who attended on behalf of International Education “of the United States, and Clanuz Siddaminova, Senior Human Rights Researcher.
The speakers stressed the need to highlight the violations of Iran in the non-Persian peoples, especially in Ahwaz since such issues have been out of the limelight over the past years.
They yet stressed the clerical regime targets all the brackets of the Ahwazi people without exception. And the Iranian regime itself runs the networks of drug trafficking aimed to destroy lives of youths.
For his part, Faez Rahim, President of the Ahwazi Organization for the Defense of Human Rights, said in his speech that the organization believes it is its duty to draw the attention of the audience to the human rights situation in Ahwaz and the territories of non-Persian ethnic minorities throughout Iran. He hoped that these efforts contribute in conveying a true image of the suffering of those peoples under the tyrant rule of the Iranian state.
He reiterated that the violations of the Iranian regime stretched out to several aspects of life in a systematic way. He added that it is not possible for them to record all violations of the regime, but few recorded crimes of this regime could be enough to move the conscience of the world to pay more attention to the victims of the abuses of the Iranian regime.
Rahim stated that the regime increased the pace and scale of these violations after inking the nuclear agreement with the world powers. The regime has been given more immunity to commit horrendous crimes and get away with them. The rights tycoon noted that this ill-fated deal gave Mullahs the go-ahead to commit more abuses against human rights nationwide, with a more focus on Ahwaz.
He cited the death verdicts issued by Persian courts against two Ahwazi activists. They are named Abdullah Abbas al-Kaabi and Qassem Obeid al-Kaabi. They were nabbed in October 2015. Their families were not allowed to visit them. Moreover, they were denied their right to pick defense lawyers. The sole crime of those activists is that they are insistent on peacefully resisting the practices of the Iranian regime and defending the rights of the Ahwazi people.
Yet he pressed the Iranian state’s approach in extending its control over the Ahwazi and non-Persian peoples is manifested in denying the non-Persian ethnic minorities their rights, putting restrictions on them in the economic, legal and human rights’ aspects. Prisons are packed with those who resisted injustice, including politicians, journalists, workers, farmers and even children.
According to him, the violations of the regime varied between illegal arrests, conducted without the issuance of arrest warrants, forced disappearances, coercing detainees into confessions, and denying them their rights to have defense lawyers.
He also conveyed part of the audio recording made by the political prisoner Maher al-Kaabi, who is locked up in “Ardebil” in northern Iran. The recording came out on August 24th. Kaabi, who spoke on behalf of his fellow prisoners and all political prisoners in Iran, called on the United Nations, the World Council for Human Rights, the European Union and all the organizations concerned with human rights in the world to display solidarity with those detainees to redress their injustice and to enable them to attain their right to justice.
He warned of the harsh manners pursued during investigations conducted by Iranian intelligence against the prisoner Maher al-Kaabi in response to his voice message. And the Revolutionary Court of Iran will consider the results of these investigations as a separate case from his first case.
He also cited the Persian policies aimed to spread illiteracy among the non-Persian peoples. The regime turned Fateh primary school located in al-Thawra neighborhood west of Ahwaz into an intelligence headquarters. This school is one of a few others serving the densely-populated neighborhood.
On the environment, Rahim revealed Ahwaz, which has five major rivers, has been suffering from water shortage in the past few years, as a result of the diversion of these rivers to Iranian regions and governorates outside Al-Ahwaz for political and economic purposes. This devastated the agricultural sector in the area.
He pointed to the rampant unemployment among the Ahwazis because of the lack of opportunities in the departments, companies, and factories across Ahwaz as a result of the policy of apartheid adopted by Iranian officials.
He cited statistics published by some Iranian circles indicating that 30 thousand citizens of Ahwaz migrated from the villages of Falahiyeh town south of Ahwaz in five years due to the policies of forced displacement and ethnic cleansing in Ahwaz.
The Ahwazi figure said these violations make up no more than five percent of the total abuses perpetrated by the Mullahs. And he explained that the non-Persian peoples, who make up the majority of the populations inside Iran, who live in bad circumstances compared to the Persian minority who wrested control over power.
Rahim concluded his speech reviewing the demands of the Ahwazis under occupation, including namely the right to self-determination, the right to establish and form non-governmental organizations, the right to form political parties, the right to education in the mother tongue, the right to choose religion and the freedom of expression.
He called on the participants in the meetings and conferences of the current session of the United Nations General Assembly to issue a strong condemnation of the violations of the rights of non-Persian peoples by the Iranian regime, to pressure them into allowing international human rights organizations to visit prisons so as to reach out to the political prisoners sentenced to death and those handed down long sentences with unfair trials.