Thursday, 30 August 2012

Baroness Catherine Ashton: I am well aware of the precarious situation of Ahwazi Arabs:

Below are excerpts from Baroness Ashton, The Vice-president and high representative of the Union for foreign affairs and security policy letter to the President of the Friends of Free Iran Intergroup and MEP, Struan Stevenson:

... "regarding the precarious situation of Ahwazi Arabs, of which I am well aware. Iran is a multi-ethnic State with several non-Persian minorities representing a large share of the population. Despite constitutional guarantees of equality, persons belonging to minorities are subject to an array of discriminatory laws and practices. These include land and property confiscations, denial of state and para-statal employment, restrictions on social, cultural, linguistic and religious freedoms, resulting in human rights violations. Common practices include imprisonment for acts of conscience, unfair trials, corporal punishment and use of the death penalty, as well as systematic restrictions on movement and denial of certain civil rights.

In the EU, we have used and are using all tools available to raise awareness and call on Iran to respect principles of equal treatment and non-discrimination. The EU and myself, personally, have issued Statements and Declarations on ethnic and religious intolerance in Iran and have undertaken demarches on individual cases. Only recently my Spokesperson issued a statement, expressing my concern over the execution of 3 Ahwazi Arabs on grounds which reliable reports suggest are political(

Needless to say the EU will continue to monitor the situation of vulnerable individuals and groups in Iran and call on the country to abide by its international obligations and cease its discriminatory policies.

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