27 February, 2014

UNESCO Discusses Multilingualism in Iran for the First Time

Paris, France. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, hosted a conference on multilingualism and multilingual education in Iran on International Mother Language Day.
Representatives of NGOs, human rights organizations, civil society and political organizations belonging to non-Persian nationalities in Iran met with educational and linguistic specialists at UNESCO headquarters in Paris on February 21, on the occasion of International Mother Language Day 2014. UNESCO hosted this event on the right to multilingualism in Iran, where over two-thirds of the population has a mother tongue other than Persian.

Representatives of non-Persian nationalities--Arabs, Balochi, Kurds and Turks--each addressed the problem of the inability to use and study their native languages in Iran. They protested that their languages are banned in the country’s schools, Iran’s education system and in social media.

Maud Vanwalleghem, UNPO Program Manager, attended the conference and highlighted the case of non-Persian languages in Iran and called for further support and solidarity. UNESCO officials also insisted that all indigenous peoples in Iran have the right to education, access to social media and to practice their cultures in their native languages. 

Irmgarda Kasinskaite-Buddeberg, Programme Specialist in the Knowledge Societies Division, and Serena Heckler, Small Islands & Indigenous Knowledge Section, both showed their sympathy and stated the necessity of education in one’s mother language.  They registered the concerns of delegates and received their reports.

Nasser Boladai, Spokesperson of Baluchi people, Ayda Karimli, South Azerbaijan director of communication, and Amir Saedi from Ahwaz Human Rights Organisation attended. Each participant presented the issue of mother languages in their respective areas.
Boladai spoke about the suffering of Balochi people as the Iranian regime disallows Balochi children to be educated in their mother language, the Balochi language.

Saedi presented a report on the denial of the Ahwazi-Arab people’s right to education in their Arabic mother tongue. He showed recent statistics about the dropout rates among Ahwazi-Arab children in the Iranian education system. The rate of illiteracy among Ahwazi Arabs is four times the national average in Iran. Saedi also discussed the fact that the right of education in one’s mother language is an essential human right and that the Iranian government refuses to implement Article 15 of the Iranian constitution which states that local non-Persian languages are allowed.

Non-Persian nationalities, who make up at least half, and by some accounts, two thirds of the Iranian population, have intensified their demands for education in their mother languages despite the objection of the “Institute of the Literature and Persian Language”, a government sponsored institution that claims that education in non-Persian languages weakens the Persian language and damages the so-called territorial integrity. This Institute also claims that the demand for mother languages is a foreign “conspiracy” which will lead to the country's break-up along ethnic lines.

The Azeri-Turkish activist, Ayda Karimli, discussed the suffering of Turkish-speaking Iranians who constitute about a third of the population. She said that according to Hajbabaei, the Iranian former Minister of Education, about 70% of students in Iran have a non-Persian mother language, and yet, the Persian language is the only sanctioned language and the sole declared official language of Iran.

Rouhani, the newly elected president, claimed during his presidential campaign that he will address the fact that the central government denies the basic right of education to non-Persian students, but he has never implemented his promises, Karimli said.



26 December, 2013

Des durs du régime s’allient avec l’extrême droite Iranienne du parti Pan-Iraniste pour attaquer des militants environnementalistes

Des durs du régime s’allient avec l’extrême droite Iranienne du parti Pan-Iraniste  pour attaquer des militants environnementalistes Arabes de la province du Khuzestan.
25 et 20 décembre 2013 nouvelles qui nous sont parvenues via le site Ahwazi Arabs Info:  Des éléments et agents propagandiste de la ligne dure du régime liés aux clans ultraconservateurs se sont unis avec des pseudos "opposants" chauvins de l’extrême droite Iranienne du Parti Pan Iraniste ou Hezb-e Paniranis (en Persan), pour attaquer  des défenseurs de l’environnement locaux de la ville d’Ahwaz , les accusant de"falsifier" des preuves sur les dégâts écologiques majeurs qui frappent cette région pour  susciter et déclencher  des troubles à caractère ethnique  dans la province du Khuzestân,  où  vivent d’importantes minorités Arabes .
Des milliers d’habitants de la ville d’Ahwaz représentatifs d’un large éventail de milieux sociaux différents, manifestent pacifiquement depuis plusieurs mois pour tenter de sauver la rivière Karoun*1 qui à été gravement touchée par plusieurs crises majeures  de sécheresses chroniques, entrainant des pollutions industrielles qui portent gravement  atteinte à la santé et au bien être  des populations locales qui vivent sur ses rives et sur ses berges.
 L’extrême droite Iranienne du parti Pan-Iraniste
L’agence de nouvelles Iranienne et le site du  journal ultra conservateur  Jahan News*2.Une officine de propagande du régime qui est largement soupçonné d’être liée aux services du ministère des renseignements  Iraniens , a lancé une vague d’articles calomnieux contre les militants écologistes Ahwazis locaux qui se battent contre les pompages et des  détournements d’eaux par des canaux partant de la rivière Karoun  vers la région d’Ispahan,  en accusant les responsables du mouvement Save Karoun River d’avoir lancé une campagne gérée par des "Hypocrites"- une référence au mouvement des Mujahideen- e Khalq (un parti d’opposition illégal en Iran)  dans le but d’inciter et de déclencher des conflits ethniques dans la région du Khuzestân-située dans le sud  de l’Iran-Ndrl. Un région du pays qui est peuplée majoritairement par des populations Arabes- non Perses largement stigmatisées et ostracisées par le régime de Khamenei.
Dans le même temps les "opposants" chauvins et d’extrême droite Iraniens du Parti Pan-Iraniste  ont accusé l’Organisation Mondiale de la Santé de s’être"compromise avec des séparatistes"*pour avoir mis la ville d’Ahwaz sur une liste au sommet des dix villes parmi les plus polluées de la planète*4. Cette organisation politique qui ouvertement inspirée par l’idéologie néo-nazie et le "national socialisme" Allemand de la seconde guerre mondiale et qui se dit: "Combattre pour le rétablissement d’un grand Empire Perse" et pour "La supériorité du peuple Perse" à également accusé et affirmé que l’agence de presse indépendante et le site internet Ahwaz News Agency avait délibérément trompée l’organisation internationale de l’OMS avec des "rapports falsifiés" sur les dégâts écologiques dans le Khuzestân.
Alors même que ces statistiques ont été à l’origine compilées à partir de données communiquées par des organismes scientifiques et environnementaux, sous le contrôle du gouvernement de Téhéran et que de nombreux scientifiques et académiciens Iraniens ont publiés depuis des années des rapports disant qu’il  y avait des risques de crises écologiques irréversibles, dans la province du Khuzestân, si le gouvernement continuait dans ses voies de constructions irraisonnées de barrages et d’assèchements de zones humides. Malgré ces arguments les durs du régime soutenus par le journal ultraconservateur Jahan News et les extrémistes de droite du Parti Pan-Iraniste fidèles à leurs visions paranoïaques du monde, continuent d’accuser les militants écologistes Ahwazis de vouloir fomenter un "complot séparatiste" et "Anti Iranien", promu et organisé en "sous main"  par des gouvernements étrangers .
Les organisations écologistes et environnementales Awhazies, ont pourtant toujours affirmées qu’elles n’avaient aucunes revendications politiques ou ethniques. Et qu’elles se mobilisaient et se battaient uniquement pour la protection de l’environnement et pour la santé et le bien être des populations locales. Dans une région du monde qui est désignée par plusieurs programmes scientifiques des Nations-Unies, comme courant le risque d’être la victime de catastrophes écologiques majeures*5.
Des membres locaux du Majlis - le Parlement Iranien-Ndlr. On récemment démissionné*6 en accusant l’administration d’Hassan Rouhani de discriminations à l’égard de la province du Khuzestân et contre ses populations en majorité Arabes en leur faisant volontairement courir le risque d’êtres les futures victimes d’une crise environnementale catastrophique. Alors que dans le même temps  la ville d’Ahwaz a connu récemment une vague sans précédents de milliers de personnes victimes de graves problèmes respiratoires, causés par la pollution et des tempêtes de pluies acides*7.
L’unité entre ceux qu’on appelle les durs du régime et les éléments fascistes du Pan Iranist Party  qui sont impopulaires au sein de même l’opposition Iranienne et cela qu’elle soit de la diaspora où de l’intérieur du pays, suggère que ces deux entités réactionnaires ont des intérêts communs, dans la continuation des persécutions du régime de la "république Islamique" contre les populations Arabes Awhazies d’Iran. Et qu’elles considèrent les préoccupations écologiques de celles ci, vulgairement comme  des "problèmes de sécurité nationale" qui ne pourraient êtres résolus que par une répression violente.
Voir aussi sur:http://www.ahwaziarabs.info/2013/12/regime-and-opposition-chauvinists.htmlNotes voir sur:-*1:   http://www.ahwaziarabs.info/2013/10/thousands-protest-in-ahwaz-to-save.html-*2:  http://khabarkhoon.com/Post/جلوگیری-رئیس-یک-دانشگاه-ازفعالیت-بسیج-*3:  http://www.parsine.com/fa/news/پان-ایرانیست-هاآلودگی-هوای-اهواز-دروغ-و-توطئه-تجزیه-طلبان-است-*4: http://www.ahwaziarabs.info/2013/03/ahwaz-confirmed-most-polluted-city-on.html -*5: http://www.ahwaziarabs.info/2007/06/iran-government-in-denial-over-karoon.html-*6:  http://www.ahwaziarabs.info/2013/12/non-persian-representatives-quit-over.html-*7: http://www.ahwaziarabs.info/2013/11/thousands-hospitalised-in-ahwaz.htmlVoir aussi le site de la campagne  Save Karoun River.http://www.save-karoun.org/Et l’article publié par France24  sur les pluies acides qui frappent la ville d’Ahwaz.http://observers.france24.com/fr/content/20131126-iran-ahvaz-pluies-acides-empoisonnent-iraniens

20 December, 2013

Regime and "opposition" chauvinists attack Ahwaz environmentalists

Peaceful activists attacked by regime and opposition
Regime hard-liners and chauvinists in the Iranian "opposition" have united to attack grass-roots environmental campaigners in Ahwaz City, accusing them of fabricating evidence to incite ethnic unrest.

Thousands of city residents from a range of social backgrounds have demonstrated on the banks of the Karoun river in recent months to highlight the growing water crisis in the region, as well as the effects of industrial pollution on citizens' health.

Iranian news agency Jahan News, which is widely believed to be linked to the Iranian intelligence services, claimed the campaign to stop the diversion of the Karoun River to Isfahan is being run by the "Hypocrites", a reference to the Mujahideen-e Khalq. It accused the campaign of inciting ethnic conflict in the Arab majority region of south-west Iran, although ethnicity has not been 

Pan-Iranists are the Iranian variant of Nazism
Meanwhile, the "opposition" Pan-Iranist Party has accused the World Health Organisation of being compromised by "separatists" after it put Ahwaz City at the top of the world's most polluted cities. The avowedly Nazi organisation, which seeks to re-establish a Persian empire, claimed that the Ahwaz News Agency has misled the international agency, even though the statistics have been compiled from data reported by national organisations under government control. In similar vein as the Iranian regime, the Pan-Iranists dismiss environmentalism in Ahwaz as a separatist "anti-Iranian" plot promoted by foreign governments.

The environmental campaign has made no political or ethnic demands, other than to protect health and welfare in a region that the United Nations Environment Programme claims is witnessing an ecological crisis.

Local Majlis members recently resigned from parliament, accusing the Rouhani administration of discriminating against the Arab-majority Khuzestan province and creating a catastrophic environmental crisis. Meanwhile, Ahwaz City has seen thousands struck down by severe respiratory distress caused by pollution brought by acid rain storms.

The unity between regime hard-liners and unpopular fascist elements within the "opposition" suggests both have an interest in persecuting an Arab population by portraying all demands and concerns as a national security problem to be solved by violent repression.

15 December, 2013

Non-Persian representatives quit over Rouhani budget

The Iranian parliament was left reeling this week after Arab-majority Khuzestan province's 18 representatives as well as most parliamentarians from Kurdistan and Lorestan quit over President Hassan Rouhani's budget.

Controversy surrounds the cuts in budgets to impoverished non-Persian provinces to the benefit of central provinces.

Ahwazi Majlis member Salehi Nasab accused the President and the Energy minister of inflicting cruelty on the region. The diversion of the River Karoun to Isfahan and a 70% cut in the province's infrastructure budget were among the grievances listed by Nasab for the mass resignation.

Mohammad Sadat Ibrahimi said: "We understand that the budget must be tightened. But the pressure must not always be on poorer provinces. We just expect justice in allocating the budget. We also strongly oppose plans to take water out of our provinces."

The deputy head of the representatives from Khuzestan, Abdullah Tamimi, said that the reason they all resigned together was because administration officials had ignored the demands they had presented in meetings before the budget was presented Sunday.

“The demands and funds that are needed for the province were presented from the beginning, when the administration came into office,” Tamimi said. “In the meetings with administration officials, they promised us that our demands would be represented in the budget. Now they’ve brought the budget to parliament, and none of our demands were represented.”

Tamimi continued, “When the views of the representatives on various issues are not observed in the administration’s decision-making, we do not see a need to continue to have a presence in parliament because we cannot implement the wants of the people.”

Ahwaz representative Seyed Sharif Hosseini also complained that when the Foolad corporation of Khuzestan was sold, its funds were allocated to projects in Tehran, while when corporations of other provinces were sold, the funds were spent in that province.

Majlis member Abdollah Tamyomi told Parliament: "According to earlier agreements, the administration has promised to allot a special line of credit to address problems in the many underprivileged cities of Khuzestan, but the proposed budget failed to address this matter.

"Meanwhile, the administration and the president have taken unacceptable steps toward transferring water from Karoon River sources to other parts of the country, which is leading to further destruction of agriculture in Khuzestan."

He added that the project to redirect water from these sources is "treason against national interests and the people of Khuzestan Province", however the government is pressing ahead with the project.

Seyed Sharif Hosseini, a parliament member from Ahwaz said, that in reviewing the preliminary budget for the following year, the funds allocated to “Khuzestan, with respect to other provinces, had a drastic decrease and although some other provinces had a decrease in their budget, there has been extra oppression against Khuzestan.”

Seven of nine MPs from the ethnic Lori province of Lorestan also quit as did six from Kurdistan province amid anger over discrimination by the Rouhani administration. Altogether, 10 per cent of Iran's parliament have resigned in protest at the policies of a president who was elected, in part, on his pledge to help improve the welfare and representation of non-Persian nationalities.

“Even though I don’t believe that resignation will bring any change, the benefit of this action is that the government will hear the objection of the MPs,” said Kurdish MP Hamed Qaderwarzi. Kurdish MPs said that all vital and important projects in the Kurdish Province have been reduced or eliminated in the draft budget for Kurdistan Province.

The MPs fear that the region, already among the country’s most deprived and poorest, will lag behind the rest of the country. The Kurdish MPs believe that the new budget suggests that Rouhani is backtracking on campaign promises to treat the Kurdish province as a potential region for growth.

“President Rouhani made a few promises to the people of Kurdistan, but in the budget we don’t see any sign of his promises, especially for development projects,” Qaderwarzi said.

According to parliament member Iraj Abdi from Lorestan, Article 180 of Iran’s fifth Five-Year plan states that provinces that are economically deprived must have their budgets increased by 2% each year, and the new budget does not reflect this rule. MPs from other provinces in the southwest also voiced their concern, with Emran Ali Mohamadi of Ilam - which has a mixed Kurdish and Lori population - complaining that people in his province had no decent drinking water, high unemployment and not even one kilometre of highway. He added: "It's not fair that most of the budget is absorbed by privileged provinces."

Residents of Chaharmahal va Bakhtiari also share the anger of Ahwazi Arabs against the river diversion programme, which benefits the wealthy Isfahan province while cutting them off from clean water sources. Rage boiled over into a storm of protest on social media following comments by Isfahan Governor Rasoul Zargarpour that his province was politically and socially superior than the people of Khuzestan and Chaharmahal va Bakhtiari.

In reaction, a resident of Chaharmahal va Bakhtiari contacted Ahwaz News Agency saying: "Isfahan is run by fascists. They are destroying the environment in Khuzestan and Chaharmahal va Bakhtiari. We need help from the United Nations to stop the water transfer projects. Save Karoun and stop the Golba river diversion tunnel in Chaharmahal va Bakhtiari."

10 December, 2013

Two more Ahwazis face death in Rouhani's bloody purge

Two Ahwazi Arab political prisoners are facing death as the administration of President Hassan Rouhani continues its mass execution campaign, which has so far seen nearly 400 hanged in some of the worst state violence in Iran's recent history.

Iranian authorities moved two prominent Ahwazi Arab prisoners from Karoun Prison to an undisclosed location on 7 December, prompting fears they could be executed.

Iran Human Rights has called for the Iranian authorities toimmediately commute the death sentences of the men, who were subjected to torture and unfair trials that have been condemned by several UN experts. IHR's appeal comes just days after four other Ahwazi Arab prisoners were taken from Karoun Prison and executed.

Hashem Shabani (32) and Hadi Rashedi (38) were sentenced to death for Moharebeh (“enmity against God”), Mufsid-fil-Arz (“corruption on earth”) and spreading propaganda against the system in July 2012 alongside three other political prisoners: Mohammad Ali Amouri, Sayed Jaber Alboshoka and Sayed Mokhtar Alboshoka. Another, Rahman Asakereh, was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment. All are founding members of Al-Hiwar, a cultural institute that promoted Arabic education, literature and cultural activities among deprived Ahwazi Arab youth. They were subjected to torture for long periods before their trials, apparently in an attempt to force them to confess to various crimes. Both Shabani and Rashedi were taken from Karoun Prison in July/August and held for weeks by the Ministry of Intelligence where they suffered further torture.

Hadi Rashedi, single was arrested on 28 February 2011 with his brother Habibullah Rashidi, former chair of Khalafabad municipal council. A highly qualified post-graduate with an MSc in chemistry, he worked in local high schools as a teacher. He has a keen interest in cultural issues and is an advocate for the poor. He suffers from heart disease and as such is exempt from military service. Before his trial, Rashedi suffered considerable mental stress, developing a serious digestive disorder as a result. As a result of beatings, he suffered a fractured hip. He also appeared in a documentary aired by Iran’s Press TV in which he was forced to confess to firing a gun at buildings housing security personnel and government officials in Khalafabad. He was described as a member of the ‘Khalq-e Arab’ (Arab People), although no single organisation operates with this name.

Hashem Shaabani, arrested in February 2011, is originally from Ahwaz City and a resident of Khalafabad. He is married with one child and before his arrest he took care of his elderly parents. He has a Bachelor degree in Arabic language, literature and education and holds a Masters degree in Political Sciences from Ahwaz University. He has written poetry in Arabic and Farsi and teaches Arabic language and Arabic literature in high schools. He is a cultural, civil and student activist and also a blogger. His father Khalaf Shaabani was disabled while fighting Iraqi forces during the Iran-Iraq War. In December 2011, he was featured on Iran’s international television station Press TV in which he was forced to confess to being involved in separatist terrorism and supporting Ba’athism in Iraq. He was also made to claim that he had assistance from Hosni Mubarak and Muammer al-Qadafi, the former rulers of Egypt and Libya. Those who know him state that he has never supported armed insurgency against the Iranian state, let alone had contact with foreign governments.

In a letter smuggled out of prison, Shabani wrote that he had written blogs and essays critical of the treatment of minorities in Iran, including "hideous crimes against Ahwazis perpetrated by the Iranian authorities, particularly arbitrary and unjust executions. Through this reporting, I was defending the legitimate right that every nation in this world should have which is the right to live freely with full civil rights. With all these miseries and tragedies, I have never used a weapon to fight these atrocious crimes except the pen."

Insisting on his innocence and demanding a retrial before an impartial court, Shabani concluded his letter stating "I would like to confirm that I have never participated in any armed activity whatever the motives. I disagree with armed activities if there are other peaceful channels to make demands and express our wishes and aspirations."

The death sentences against the men were met with condemnation by a group of five United Nations independent experts in January. The Special Rapporteurs urged the Iranian authorities to halt the executions and expressed grave concern over torture and other ill-treatment in detention where they were forced to sign confessions.

The Special Rapporteur on torture, Juan E. Méndez, said: “This is not only in breach of Iran’s international obligations under the international covenant, which imposes an outright prohibition on torture, it is also in breach of Iran’s Constitution that explicitly forbids the use of all forms of torture for the purpose of extracting confessions or acquiring information.”

The UN Independent Expert on minority issues, Rita Izsák added: “I urge the Government of Iran to halt these executions and to review the decisions of the courts to ensure that all human rights, including minority rights, are fully upheld and respected in practice.”

In his presentation to the UN Human Rights Council, UN Special Rapporteur on Iran Ahmed Shaheed said: "five Ahwazi Arab men were convicted of among other charges 'spreading propaganda against the system' and sentenced to death in connection with their founding of an Arab minority linguistic and cultural organization named 'Al-Hiwar.' Reports from multiple sources indicate that all five men were mistreated or tortured while in detention, and that they were not afforded fair trials. I urge the Iranian government to officially halt the execution of these cultural activists, two of whom are teachers, and to take every effort to investigate the aforementioned allegations."

The European Union subsequently imposed sanctions on judge Seyyed Mohammad Bagher Moussavi of Branch 2 of the Ahwaz Revolutionary Court who sentenced the men to death as well as the officials responsible for broadcasting the "confessions", head of IRIB World Service and Press TV Muhammad Sarafraz and Press TV newsroom director Hamid Reza Emadi.

 
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