On the 13th September members of the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission met three representatives from the EU Ahwazi Human Rights Organisation.
They came to raise the profile of the gross human rights abuses being carried out by the Iranian regime against its Arab citizens in Al-Ahwaz, the oil-rich south-west region of Iran which the Tehran regime calls Khuzestan. Between 8 and 10 million Ahwazi Arabs live in the region and despite the fact that the area accounts for 90% of Iranian oil revenues, two thirds of Ahwazi Arabs live in poverty.
The group highlighted to the Commission some of the gross violations that are being committed against the Ahwazi Arabs in Iran. The government in Tehran has been accused of ‘ethnic cleansing’ as they seek to push out the Ahwazi Arabs from their native lands because of the vast natural resources at stake. The Commission heard that the regime’s actions include deliberately depleting the region from any investment in basic infrastructure, such as clean drinking water, and an overall lack of economic and socio-economic development in the region which is forcing trans-migration of the Ahwazi Arabs. The abuses against the Ahwazi Arabs have been frequently documented by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, UN Human Rights officials and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
This forced migration, compounded by political repression and economic exclusion, have led the Ahwazi Arabs to demand collective rights, including the redistribution of oil revenues, as well as an end to forced displacement, equal labour rights, environmental protection and cultural freedom.
Robert Buckland MP, Chair of the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission, said “every human has a right to life and the Ahwazi Arabs have the right to live in their native region and receive the same assistance from their Government as any other citizen”. Therefore in light of the meeting, Robert Buckland MP wrote to Alistair Burt MP, Minister of State for Africa and the Middle East, asking him to highlight the abuses being faced by the Ahwazi people and that they are given consideration when deciding on foreign policy pertaining to Iran.