Poverty and deteriorated environmental situation force Ahwazis from their hometowns


20 Sep 2018

About 400,000 people from north of Ahwaz immigrated to northern cities of Iran over the past few years according to Mrs. Parvaneh Salahshor, a member of Iran’s Parliament. She explained that mismanagement is the cause of environmental problems in Ahwaz. They contribute to mass exodus of people. The current displacement from the Ahwazi land is expected to continue. It will lead to changing the demographic makeup of the area in a way that harms the Arab population. [1]

The unhealthy water, dust and polluted air, excessive heat, unfavourable climatic conditions, unemployment, poverty and inflation, have created enormous problem in the everyday life of the people. They were forced to flee their homes. According to the complaints lodged by the locals, the inhabitants of Ahwaz are not able to sleep at night as a result of smoking smell caused by burning of Alazim Marshland which has dried because of the severe shortage of water.

It can be said that in practice, Ahwazi people have been deprived of enjoying human dignity and rights by the Iranian state. The environmental crisis, air pollution and the shortages of water in Ahwaz are predominantly caused by the impactful policies and practices of the Iranian government against Ahwazi people, their land, their air, their water and their environment. Although the state of Iran has international obligations to strive for promoting and protecting human dignity and rights for all individuals within its territory, there is no will on the regime’s side to address the environmental catastrophe in Ahwaz or to safeguard the right of equal treatment among all citizens or to enable those people to enjoy economic, social and cultural rights envisaged under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights [2] in which Iran has ratified and committed to respect.


[1] Parvaneh Salahshor Iran’s MP, ‘400 thousands of people from Khuzestan migrated to northern cities’ (IRNA, 5 September 2018) <http://www.irna.ir/fa/News/83023189> accessed 14 September 2018.

[2] International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, GA Res 2200A (XXI), 16 December 1966.

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