Ahwazi human rights activists sent an urgent appeal this week to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees over the safety and security of Ahwazi refugees living in southern Iraq.
In an open letter to Commissioner Ruud Lubbers (pictured), the Ahwazi Human Rights Organisation warned of the "dire situation" faced by thousands of refugees, who are registered with the UNHCR and the Red Cross.
There are as many as 10 people to a tent, with the situation of over-crowding and disease worsening following the outbreak of the Iraq War two years ago.
"During the past two years, they have been expelled from their camps in the Kut and Al-Amarah areas of southern Iraq; their homes and businesses were looted and burned by armed militias under the control of Iranian security forces in southern Iraq," said the Ahwaz Human Rights Organisation, which works in co-operation with the British Ahwazi Friendship Society.
"Now, once again, they are being subjected to killing, harassment and intimidation by armed militia groups. Their daily food rations from ICRC have been denied. It is unclear if this is done with or without the knowledge of Iraqi government. Recently, their children have been kicked out of schools and asked to pay $1,600.00 per student in order to return to schools. This is clearly beyond the means of these homeless refugees."
The British Ahwazi Friendship Society strongly urges the British government, which is in charge of security of Iraq's eastern provinces, to intervene to stop the persecution of Ahwazis by the local Iraqi authorities. There cannot be freedom and security in the Middle East when indigenous Ahwazis are being driven to poverty under the noses of British troops.
The full statement can be obtained here.