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UNPO Votes in Support of Indigenous Ahwazi Arabs in Iran

In the wake of the Iranian elections, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO) General Assembly called on the European Parliament to take action over the human rights abuses of ethnic Ahwazi Arabs in Iran.

A resolution passed by the UNPO condemned the ethnic cleansing of Arabs in Khuzestan through land confiscation and forced migration and brought attention to the abject poverty of most Ahwazis, whose oil-rich homeland is being exploited to profit an elite in Tehran. The UNPO also highlighted the state terrorism unleashed on the Ahwazis during demonstrations in April, which led to the deaths of over 150 unarmed protestors and passers-by and the arrest of hundreds of dissidents, including Ahwazi academic Youssef Azizi-Banitoruf.

The General Assembly - which promotes the voices of Tibetans, Taiwanese, Kurds, Turkomen, native Americans and Australian aboriginals among others - also brought attention to the role of global corporations in the oppression of the Ahwazis, noting that: "contracts have been signed between the Japanese state-owned Inpex Corp and the Iranian Government, worth $2.8 billion, and the Chinese state oil company has signed a $75 billion oil and gas for the 'development' of 'Azedegan' oilfield in Southwestern Iran. Also, that a Norwegian oil firm recently signed similar oil concessions for the exploration of oil in Khuzestan (Al-Ahwaz) province." The UNPO voiced concern that "newly discovered oilfields are located on Ahwazi Arab land and particularly in and around the two Indigenous Ahwazi-Arab villages of Hussinieh and Kushk", which is now being confiscated by the regime.

The delegates meeting in The Hague called on the European Parlment "to establish a commission of inquiry and initiate an international investigation into the shooting and killings of unarmed indigenous Ahwazi Arab civilian by the Iranian security forces." It also called for the release of all Ahwazis detained during the April 2005 civil uprising in Khuzestan and called on all oil deals to be abrogated "so long as the Iranian Government does not recognize the legitimate rights of the Ahwazi Arab indigenous people of Khuzestan."

The UNPO resolution will put further pressure on European oil companies to avoid investing in land stolen from one of the world's most persecuted and brutalised minority groups. European oil majors have shown a reluctance to invest in oilfields in the Ahwazi homeland, despite the huge potential in oil profits. Ahwazi groups hope that the resolution will prompt other oil firms to follow suit until Ahwazi demands over land, redistribution of wealth and political and human rights are met.