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Iran Criticised over Ahwaz Crisis at UNCHR

A group with ECOSOC status has brought the UNCHR's attention to the killings and torture of Ahwazi Arabs by the Iranian regime.

The International Federation for the Protection of the Rights of Ethnic, Religious, Linguistic and Other Minorities (IFPRERLOM) has drawn attention to the discrimination and marginalisation of more than four million Ahwazi Arabs. In a report submitted to the 62nd session of the Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, IFPRERLOM highlighted the killings of at least 61 Ahwazis by Iranian security forces during an Arab intifada in April 2005.

The organisation also mentioned reports published by human rights organisations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch over the torture, ill-treatment, and incommunicado detention and incidents of arbitrary arrest and detention of Ahwazi Arabs, including children. The arrests came after Basiji militias attacked a crowd of Arab Shia worshippers during Eid-ul-Adha on 11 January. They had gathered peacefully to demand an end to the persecution of Arabs, poverty and unemployment among Arabs, and the release of political prisoners arrested since April 2005 following unrest in Khuzestan province.

The organisation's written statement "notes with concern the tension that has mounted among the Arab population since April 2005, after it was alleged that the government planned to disperse the country's Arab population or to force them to relinquish their Arab identity. As the cycle of violence in the Khuzestan province threatens to intensify, IFPRERLOM appeals to the Commission on Human Rights
> to call upon Iran to investigate incidents of arbitrary arrest and detention, reports of torture and ill-treatment;
> to call, as a matter of urgency, for a follow-up to the initial request by UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, to the government of Iran to arrange a visit; and
> to urge authorities in Iran to implement measures to promote and protect the rights of minorities, including the indigenous Ahwazi Arabs, Balochis and other minority groups in Iran."

Ahwazi groups have repeatedly called for Iran to be referred to the UN Security Council over its appalling human rights record, not just in relation to Ahwazis but other ethnic minorities, religious groups, women, the political opposition and trade unionists.