The following appeal was made by the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO). It follows a similar appeal by the British Ahwazi Friendship Society.
In light of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms. Louise Arbour's upcoming visit to Iran, UNPO expresses its deep concerns for the continued degrading human rights situation for Ahwazi Arabs in Iran.
Faced with issues of land confiscation and forced migration, UNPO has received numerous reports highlighting the detrimental effects these events are having on the livelihood of the Ahwazi community. In a report issued by UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, Mr. Miloon Kothari, following his visit to Iran in July 2005, Mr. Kothari identified the exceptionally adverse housing and living conditions of ethnic and religious minorities, including the Ahwazi Arabs, in Iran as a serious issue. Despite his findings, the Ahwazi continue to be forcibly displaced from their homes due to land development projects hosted by Iranian authorities.
In addition, UNPO has witnessed an alarming number of incidents of extrajudicial executions carried out by Iranian authorities against Ahwazi political dissidents. These executions have been condemned by the international community, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Special Rapporteur (SR) on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions Philip Alston, SR on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers Leandro Desouy, and SR on Torture Mandred Nowak. In January 2007 these Special Rapporteurs issued a statement urging the Iranian government to halt the imminent execution of several Ahwazi Arabs. With disregard to their request and in a blatant violation of the individuals' right to a fair and public trial, authorities in Iran carried out the executions, resulting in a clear breach of human rights obligations as set out by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a legal obligation to which Iran is party to.
UNPO remains deeply concerned about the human rights conditions of the Ahwazi community in Iran and therefore appeals to Ms. Louise Arbour to:
- Inquire about the circumstances surrounding recent land confiscation programmes and extrajudicial executions;
- Investigate the situation regarding landmines on Ahwazi land and the severe effects inflicted upon the Ahwazi community;
- Urge Iran to end immediately its use of land displacement and executions as a weapon of fear and oppression; and
- Urge Iran to immediately halt its ongoing persecution of minority communities, including the Ahwazi Arab community, and to afford all its citizens their full catalogue of political and human rights.