July 29, 2016

Iranian Kurdistan: Political Parties Look to EU Countries to Help Stop Abuse of Kolber Workers

 

Several Kurdish political parties are looking for the support of EU countries to help with a campaign against abuse by the Iranian regime of Kurdish workers in the Kolber mining facility.  In the wake of increasing hostility by Iranian authorities which has led to fatal outcomes, these Kurdish political groups have demanded article 48 of the Iranian constitution which signifies no discrimination between national regions be respected.

 

The statement below is from the Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan

Last week, several Kurdish political parties (including and on the initiative of Komala) submitted a request to the commission of foreign affairs of several EU countries in order to stop the human rights abuses by Iran towards Kurdish Kolber workers. In this request, we asked the EU countries to put an end to the human rights abuses by the Iranian regime and to advise Iran to abide by article 48 of the Iranian constitution, which states that ‘there must be no discrimination among the various provinces with regard to the exploitation of natural resources, utilization of public revenues, and distribution of economic activities among the various provinces and regions of the country, thereby ensuring that every region has access to the necessary capital and facilities in accordance with its needs and capacity for growth’.

Over the past several years, Iran has seen many changes. Many of these changes were very welcomed, by Iranians as well as international powers, assuming that the nuclear deal and the appointment of president Rohani would result in important political changes within Iran. One of these assumptions was that Iran would become more open and tolerant, which in the longer run would result in a decrease in human rights abuses. 

Unfortunately, three years after the appointment of president Rohani and a year after the nuclear deal, it is fair to state that human rights abuses in Iran have increased significantly. While many of you might know this, only few are aware of the extreme extend of these human rights abuses by the Iranian regime within the Kurdistan area, the North-Western part of Iran. 

Every week, several unarmed Kurdish Kolber workers and their horses are shot to death by Iranian soldiers for smuggling small goods at the Iranian border crossing near neighbouring Iraqi and Turkish Kurdish regions. Many of those that have not been dead are left to bleed to death or are denied medical access while being arrested. In some cases, families even have to pay for the bullets that killed their family member or family members are left with no other option then to pay ransom in order to receive the body of their loved one back.

Although Kolber workers, which stands for ‘back delivery’, are well aware of the dangers they face, the Iranian regime leaves them with no other option then to smuggle small goods. This is the direct result of the discriminatory economic policies imposed on the Kurdistan areas of Iran. The Kurdish population has relied on agriculture as a source of revenue, which has been affected detrimentally by government policies of laying land mines in agricultural fields and closing borders and land vital for the relocation of livestock for agricultural production in the region.

Furthermore, the Kurdish region is economically underfunded and exploited by the central government. They receive a very small budget from the central government, which has resulted in the highest unemployment and suicide rate of Iran within this area.

The central government sees no interest in investing in the Kurdish area, leaving the Kurds in Iran economically deprived. This is in direct contradiction to the Iranian constitution’s Article 48, which states that ‘there must be no discrimination among the various provinces with regard to the exploitation of natural resources, utilization of public revenues, and distribution of economic activities among the various provinces and regions of the country, thereby ensuring that every region has access to the necessary capital and facilities in accordance with its needs and capacity for growth’.

Last week, at least (three?) unarmed Kolber workers were shot to death, the week before three. This institutionalized violence by the Iranian regime towards the Kurdish minority in Iran, which consists of 13 million Kurds, continues on a daily bases. To end this violence, we would like to request the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to advise the Iranian regime to put an end to their human rights abuses towards these kolber workers and to abide by Article 48 of the Iranian Constitution. 

We thank you kindly in advance,

Kind Regards,

Photo Courtesy of the Komala Party