Thursday, 3 May 2012

UK 2011 Human Rights and Democracy Report: Iran Killed 30 and Arrested Several Hundreds Ahwazis

Foreign Secretary William Hague launched the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's (FCO) annual Human Rights and Democracy report on Monday for 2011. 

On crackdown and violence against protesters the report said "the worst of these [violence] was seen in Khuzestan [Arabistan], where local Arabs planned to march in solidarity with other protests across the region. Reports indicated that several hundred protesters were arrested and live ammunition was used, with more than 30 people killed."

It also said "protests occurred in Azerbaijan province in north-western Iran against the Iranian parliament’s rejection of a bill to maintain a natural salt-lake in the area, Lake Orumiyeh".

It adds "There has been no improvement in the human rights situation in Iran in 2011, and in some areas there has been deterioration. The rate of executions over the last 12 months continued at an exceptionally high level, with the minimum standards required in international law rarely applied. Iran regained the status of having more journalists in prison than any other country in the world."

..."Ethnic and religious minorities faced systematic crackdowns...[where 49% of non-Persian population] made up of Azeris, Kurds, Arabs, Baluchis, Turkmens, Armenians, Assyrians, Jews, Afghans and Georgians ... regularly suffer discrimination on account of central and local-level government policies. Although the constitution guarantees equality, ethnic minorities in Iran are subject to discriminatory practices, including property confiscations, denial of state education and employment, and cultural and linguistic restrictions. Iran’s ethnic minorities continue to be affected by apparent government bias, fuelling ethnic-based political violence, in particular among Iranian Kurds and Baluchi communities" the report said.

On religious minorities the report stated that" Baha’is have remained a target for persecution from the Iranian authorities throughout 2011. They are not recognised as a religion in Iran and are regarded with extreme hostility and suspicion by the state...Sunni Muslims continue to face repression from state authorities who continue to refuse to allow construction of a Sunni Mosque in Tehran. Reports from worshippers indicate that the authorities are actively trying to prevent them from being able to worship in acceptable alternative locations.

There have been a number of incidents reported in 2011 against other recognised religious minorities. Several occurrences of the desecration of graves in Jewish cemeteries were reported, including in a cemetery in Damavand in April. NGO reports have also suggested that Jewish worshippers also continue to be monitored closely under suspicion of spying for Israel – a charge that is frequently used against religious minorities during arrests."

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