UNPO has submitted an Alternative Report to the UN Human Rights Committee ahead of Iran’s review under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) at the 103rd Session in October 2011. This report to the Treaty Body monitoring committee underlines the gross violations of human rights and the systematic persecution of the Ahwaz Arabs, Azeri Turks, Kurds and Baloch peoples.
The Ahwazi Arab, Azeri Turkish, Kurdish and Baloch people in Iran are not accorded indigenous status and thus fall victim to political, economic and social marginalization. Their traditional lands are often rich with natural resources that provide a large source of wealth for the Iranian government, but groups who reside there experience disproportionately high rates of poverty, unemployment, preventable disease due to poor or non-existent infrastructure.
Discrimination or preferential treatment of Iranian citizens is prohibited according to Article 19 of the Iranian constitution which states that “all people of Iran, whatever the ethnic group or tribe to which they belong, enjoy equal rights; color, race, language, and the like, do not bestow any privilege.” As these indigenous groups have unique cultures, communicate in their respective native languages and oftentimes observe religions different from the Iranian state religion of Shia Islam, their behavior is branded as “anti-social” and their actions are conducted “under the pretext of a sacred objective” and “ignore the norms of society”.