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UNPO: "Iran Must End Repression against Minority Groups"

The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO) has released the following statement amid growing concerns over the fate of Ahwazis held in Iranian custody, including five UNHCR mandated refugees illegally deported to Iran by the Syrian regime.

UNPO is deeply disturbed upon Syria's deportation of all Ahwazis, including UNHCR registered refugees and the Dutch national Mr. Al-Mansouri, in its custody to Iran. UNPO General Secretary Mr. Busdachin calls for urgent action and a comprehensive approach on human rights and effective democratisation.

UNPO is greatly concerned at the news that the Syrian government has deported all Ahwazis, including UNHCR registered refugees, as well as the Dutch national Mr. Al-Mansouri, in its custody to Iran. Furthermore, Mr. Said Awdeh Saki, a UNHCR registered refugee who was due to be relocated to Norway, was deported previously to Iran and his location is currently unknown.

The Ahwazi have been a UNPO Member since 2003 and UNPO continues to monitor related developments in Iran, in particular the worsening situation Ahwazis face in terms of arrest, torture and execution. UNPO General Secretary, Mr. Marino Busdachin states: "Recent events continue to demonstrate the total lack of respect for international human rights standards and the vulnerability of specifically national minority groups and indigenous peoples in Iran, such as the Ahwazi, Balochis, Kurds and other. These groups continue to suffer systematic discrimination, and the international human rights community has so far failed to address this issue sufficiently."

Mr. Busdachin adds that a comprehensive approach to human rights and effective democratisation in the region is required and calls upon international actors and institutions to support initiatives involving minority groups within Iran promoting non-violent methodologies for democracy and human rights. "These groups can constitute the critical elements for a viable, legitimate and effective strategy for a just and democratic Iran, respectful of the international human rights treaties it has pledged to adhere to," the UNPO General Secretary asserts.