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Relative Of Hanged Ahwazis Calls for International Prosecution Of Judges

A relative of two executed Ahwazi Arabs is calling on the international community to issue a warrant for the arrest of two Iranian judge...

Sick Ahwazi Arab baby kidnapped from hospital in Lebanon

Sick Ahwazi Arab baby kidnapped from hospital in Lebanon

The Iranian regime kidnapped a family refugees from a hospital in a Sunni area of Beirut in Lebanon and forcibly deporting them and their sick three month-old daughter to Syria, according reliable reports received by the British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS) from the Danish Ahwazi Friendship Society and the Ahwaz Human Rights Organisation.

The Iranian Embassy in Beirut raided the hospital on 23 April in search of Ali Helali Majd and his family, who are supposedly under the protection of the UNHCR. The family had been accepted for asylum in Australia and were waiting to be transferred when the youngest child, Rahab (pictured), fell ill. Little Rahab was cruelly abducted by force by Hezbollah terrorists along with her three year-old brother Hossein and six year-old sister Hoda and their parents, Ali (40) and Fatemeh (26).

Ali Helali Majd has been sent to Iran, while his wife, son and two daughters have been left behind in the Syrian capital Damascus. BAFS believes that Ali is at risk of torture and execution in Iran and calls on the UNHCR and the international community to secure his release and political asylum outside Iran.

The brazen way in which the family were abducted by the Iranian Embassy in conjunction with the Lebanese Hezbollah in a Sunni area of Beirut demonstrates the control Iran has over the Mediterranean state. It also shows that Ahwazi Arab refugees are not safe anywhere in the Middle East and their removal to safe countries needs to be expedited as a matter of urgency. Furthermore, UNHCR protection has become meaningless, with the UN agency unable or unwilling to act on behalf of Ahwazi Arab refugees.

BAFS welcomes the removal of Laurens Jolles as head of the UNHCR mission in Damascus. BAFS had lobbied for his dismissal after he hired known members and sympathisers of Hezbollah and the Iranian regime as staff in his office. Under Jolles, the Damascus office refused to intervene when UNHCR-mandate Ahwazi Arab refugees were illegally deported from Syria to Iran. Laurens Jolles refused to speak to Ahwazi Arabs in their mother tongue, instead speaking to them in Farsi, and threatened to remove the UNHCR mandate of any Ahwazi Arab refugee that contacted pro-Ahwazi NGOs. As such, Jolles was regarded with deep distrust.

BAFS hopes that the UNHCR finds a more suitable replacement for Jolles who will be impartial and trustworthy that will resist the corrupting influence of the regime in Tehran. BAFS calls on Philippe Leclerc, Jolles' former deputy and the current acting head of UNHCR in Syria, to rescue the agency's reputation by dismissing compromised staff and ensuring that no more Ahwazi Arab refugees are illegally deported. We also insist that the wife, son and daughters of Ali Helali Majd are protected by all means possible and ignoring any orders from the Syrian dictatorship. BAFS will continue to monitor the situation at the UNHCR office in Damascus.
Iranian Dissidents Arrive in Brussels to Discuss a Federal Iran

Iranian Dissidents Arrive in Brussels to Discuss a Federal Iran

Representatives of Iranian opposition political parties, minority groups, and civil society have begun arriving in Brussels for a two-day conference examining the state of human rights in Iran.

Representatives of Iranian opposition political parties, minority groups, and civil society have begun arriving in Brussels for a two-day conference examining the state of human rights in Iran and in particular the situation facing Iran's minority Ahwaz, Azerbaijani, Baloch, and Kurdish populations.

Almost half of Iran's population is made up of minorities but all groups face varying levels of discrimination from the Iranian authorities on the basis of their language, religion, or ethnicity . This conference will examine how Iran's minorities can forge a fair and common future, drawing on the potential of federalism.

Participants will be meeting against the backdrop of significant lobbying from the Iranian authorities that have pressured some high-level speakers to withdraw their participation. Nevertheless, the conference represents a rare opportunity to hear constructive criticism from Iranian opposition in the heart of Brussels.

The conference will be held on 1-2 April with opening speeches in Room P4B001 of the European Parliament at 9.15am.

Entitled ‘Human Rights and the Question of Democratization and Federalism in Iran’, the conference panels will discuss federalism’s potential to accommodate Iran’s patchwork of ethnicities. Discussion will dwell on the issues of autonomy, democratization, good governance, and press freedom before a final debate on the question of what the future may hold for Iran.

The conference will be opened at 9.00am on 1 April 2009 in Room P4B001 of the European Parliament’s Paul-Henri Spaak building.

Opening speeches will be made by the co-sponsor of the conference, Marco Cappato MEP, vice-chairman of the delegation for relations with the Mashreq countries. Their remarks will be accompanied by contributions from Graham Watson MEP (tbc), leader of the

Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) in the European Parliament, Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne MEP, member of the ALDE Group and chairwoman of the European Parliament’s delegation for relations with Iraq, Paulo Casaca MEP, member of the Socialist Group and member of the delegation for relations with Iran, and Senator Marco Perduca of the Italian Senate.

Commenting on the situation in Iran will be Nasser Boladai of the Congress of Nationalities for a Federal Iran (CNFI) and Marino Busdachin, General Secretary of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO). Representatives of Iran’s Ahwaz, Azerbaijani, Baloch, and Kurdish organizations will also feature as key panelists.

The conference is being organized by the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (www.unpo.org/) in partnership with the Congress of Nationalities for a Federal Iran (iranfederal.org/) and Members of the European Parliament from the Nonviolent Radical Party.