Friday, 9 March 2012

UN Rapporteur on Iran: 65 Ahwazis Arrested Since Late 2011

In a 36-page report to be submitted to UN Human Rights Council on 12 March 2012 the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Situation in Iran concludes that 65 ethnic Arabs in Arabistan have been arrested and detained "since late 201,  allegedly in response to their calls for a  boycott of upcoming parliamentary elections and anti-Government slogans."

Ahmed Shaheed said he "continues to receive reports about human rights violations affecting ethnic minorities [including Ahwazis]  in law and  in  practise... Minorities also continue to be subjected to  intense socio-economic discrimination and pressures, including land and property  confiscation, denial of employment and restrictions on social, cultural and linguistic rights, in violation of the  International  Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial  Discrimination and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights."

EAHRO welcomes the UN rapporteur report on human rights situation in Iran, particularly double oppression on ethic minorities including Ahwazis . However, we believe the reports falls far short of addressing Iran's apartheid style discrimination and ethnic cleansing policies against Ahwazis, one of the world most persecuted and forgotten people "on the basis of voluminous information...from a variety of independent and reliable sources" such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Minority Rights Group International, Reporters Without Borders, Society for Threatened People or even UN reporters.

Just recently in a 70-page report Amnesty International reported " unfolding wave of repression in [Arabistan] appeared to have resulted at least two deaths in custody and between 50 to 65 arrests in at least three separate locations in the province. Arrests in Shoush, north [Arabistan] appeared to have been brought on by the appearance of anti-election slogans painted on walls while others appeared to be pre-emptory arrests aimed at preventing any gathering of Ahwazi Arabs either on the anniversary of the 14 February demonstrations or on the 15 April anniversary of the “Day of Rage”.

Scores of members of the Ahwazi Arab minority were reportedly arrested before, during and after demonstrations on 15 April 2011, and at least three people were killed during clashes with the security forces. The demonstrations – called a “Day of Rage” in common with other protests across the Middle East at the time – were marking the sixth anniversary of mass demonstrations during and following which members of the security forces killed dozens of protestors and carried out mass arrests, sparking a cycle of violence and human rights violations.

At least four Ahwazi Arab men reportedly died in custody between 23 March 2011 and midMay 2011, possibly as a result of torture or other ill-treatment. Others have been hospitalized, apparently as a result of injuries sustained from torture or other ill-treatment. One man, Ejbareh Tamimi, was reportedly arrested at home following the 15 April demonstrations, apparently on suspicion of having been in contact with, and having provided information to, al-Arabiya TV. According to reports received by Amnesty International he died in Sepidar Prison, in Ahwaz, after being tortured in a failed attempt to extract a recorded “confession”.

At least eight Ahwazi Arabs in Iran, including Hashem Hamidi, said to have been aged only 16, were executed between 5 and 7 May 2011. Three of the eight were reportedly executed in public. The precise charges those reportedly executed were convicted of are unknown to Amnesty International.

The Iranian authorities have not acknowledged these executions. However, a police colonel said on 21 April 2011 that eight members of a group he described as “the Khalq-e Arab terrorist group” had been arrested by security forces, accused of the killing of three individuals, including a law enforcement official, on 15 April 2011. Ahwazi Arab sources have claimed that the eight were arrested in connection with demonstrations that took place on 15 April 2011 in [Arabistan] province. In either case, they were tried, convicted and executed within three weeks. Amnesty International does not have information concerning most of their trials, although Hashem Hamidi was reportedly tried without the presence of a lawyer in a trial that lasted only about 10 minutes".

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