This is a joint statement by the British Ahwazi Friendship Society, the Ahwazi Human Rights Organisation and the Ahwaz Studies Centre on the anniversary of the 15 April 2005 Ahwazi Arab uprising against the Iranian regime:
Today marks the first anniversary of the Ahwazi intifada against the Iranian government.
Today we remember the killing of hundreds of men, women and children; innocent people killed because they are Arab; killed by one of the world's worst human rights abusers - the Iranian regime.
Today we remember the babies who were kidnapped and are being held in prison by the Iranian regime: four year old Aimad Nabgan, four year old Ahmad Faraj-Allah, two year old Osameh Faraj-Allah (pictured, left) and four year old Zeidan Khudayrawi. We remember their mothers Masouma Kaabi, Hoda Hawashem and Soghra Khudayrawi who are in prison with them. These are the sons and wives of those who dared to raise a voice against the tyranny of Tehran. We also remember the many other men, women and children who the Iranian regime has disappeared, who are being held in torture chambers waiting for their deaths. Kidnapping and murder are the tactics of an Iranian government which stops at nothing to oppress and brutalise the Ahwazi Arabs.
This is a situation the Ahwazi Arabs have endured since their homeland, Al-Ahwaz, was over-run by Iranian forces in 1925. For more than 80 years, the Ahwazi Arabs have been subjected to ethnic cleansing, land confiscation, state terrorism and higher and higher levels of poverty. For more than 80 years, the Ahwazi Arabs have suffered in silence under Iranian occupation, suffered while the world closed its eyes and ears to the voice of the Ahwazi.
The Ahwazis are a peaceful people. But they are also a dignified people. When their women and children are kidnapped, when their sons are murdered in the streets, when the Karoon River flows with Ahwazi Arab blood, the Ahwazis have a right to stand up against this injustice and they have a right to determine their own destinies. The Ahwazis have a right to say "no more". On 15 April 2005, the Ahwazis said "no more" and protested in the streets of their homeland. More than 160 were killed in cold blood by the regime - and the killings continue to this day.
We call on the European Union to support the Ahwazis' right to say "no more" to oppression. We call on the European Union to condemn the imprisonment and murder of innocent men, women and children. We call on the European Union to try to bring an end to ethnic cleansing in Al-Ahwaz and to make this issue central to its relations with Iran. We call for international solidarity with the oppressed Ahwazi Arabs on the first anniversary of the Ahwazi intifada.
Ahwazi groups based in Europe will be holding a demonstration outside the European Parliament in Brussels on 15 April at 12 noon. Click here for more information.