17 May 2020
The Ahwazi Organization for the Defence of Human Rights condemns the continued abuse of the Sunnis in Ahwaz by the Iranian regime
The Ahwazi Organization for the defence of Human Rights condemned the continued abuse of the Sunnis and the community in Ahwaz by the Iranian regime, represented by the campaign of arrests and raids launched by its security services, within the framework of deliberate restrictions during the holy month of Ramadan.
The Iranian regime forces arrested a group of young people of Sunnis who were visiting their friends in the city of Aslouya, Ahwaz.
The arrest process was preceded by extensive investigations and observation before taking them to an unknown location. Among the arrested youth are Mr. Jaafar Silay, Mr. Faisal Silawi, Mr. Riyad Zuhairi, Mr. Sajjad Haei, Mr. Abdul Karim Khazraji, and Mr. Hussein Baladi.
According to documented sources, most of the detainees are from the Malashiya neighbourhood in Ahwaz, which has witnessed a widespread call of Sunnis community for years, led to prompting the Iranian regime to launch random arrests, especially in the month of Ramadan, to prevent the establishment of their religious rituals, Tarawih prayers, and preaching gatherings inside the homes that Residents resorted to it, for fear of being overpowered by the regime.
Accordingly, the Ahwazi Organization for the Defence of Human Rights condemns the blatant violations committed by the Iranian regime against the Sunnis, and explicitly violates the core human rights agreements that it signed, subject to the conditions of its membership in the United Nations General Assembly.
The organization considers that the Iranian regime violated the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1966, where it recognized the right to freedom of religion or belief, and Article 18 provides for four articles in this regard;
1- Every human being has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, and this includes his freedom to condemn religion, his freedom to embrace any religion or belief he chooses, his freedom to express his religion or belief in worship, to perform rituals, to practice, and to teach, alone or with a group and in front of the public or over Sharpness.
2- No one may be subjected to coercion, which would violate his freedom to condemn a debt or his freedom to convert any religion or belief he chooses.
3- A person’s freedom to manifest his religion or belief may not be subject to anything except by restrictions imposed by law that are necessary to protect public safety, public order, public health, public morals, or the rights and fundamental freedoms of others.
4- The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to respect the freedom of parents, or guardians, when they are present, to secure the religious and moral education of their children per their convictions.
In this regard, the organization explains that the systematic arrests targeting clerics in the Ahwaz stem from the fear of the Iranian regime, which is raging from the spread of the call of the Sunnis and the community in all of Ahwaz cities and villages.
And it confirms that the Iranian regime violated Article 18 explicitly as it prohibited teaching Arabic in the Ahwaz and considered it a crime until it came to monitoring the names of stores to avoid writing their addresses in the Arabic language, and not granting the necessary licenses until after they are fully examined.
This is in addition to replacing the Arabic names for cities, villages, and streets in Ahwaz with modern Persian names, as well as prohibiting the use of Arabic names for newborns and imposing Persian names on them and those who refuse to do so are not issued any proof of it and are not recognized.
The Iranian regime has also closed the offices and classes for memorizing the Holy Quran, religious schools, jurisprudence, and Arabic lessons seminars, and prohibiting the establishment of Tarawih prayers in the month of Ramadan, holidays, and other religious occasions for the Sunnis and the community.
Therefore, the organization demands that the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Ahmed Shahid, uses his powers and move seriously to form fact-finding committees regarding the suffering of the Sunnis and the community in Ahwaz and the immediate release of the aforementioned prisoners of belief.
The organization further appealed to the entire world, international institutions and human rights organizations to intervene urgently to save the prisoners who are in the prisons of the Iranian regime, and who are daring the scourge of racial discrimination.
The organization calls on the international community to exert maximum pressure to bring about real change, to ensure the rights of the people of Ahwaz.
Ahwaz Organization for the defence of Human Rights