Mar 21, 2014

Ahwazi: Recent Executions Condemned At UN Human Rights Council

On the occasion of the 25th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, presented his report on recent human rights violations in Iran. The report made special reference to human rights violation against minority and ethnic groups such as Ahwazi Arabs and Kurds, and condemned the recent  execution of Ahwazi Arabs activists.  

Below is an article published by: Ahwaz Human Rights Organization 

Yesterday, 17th of March [2014], on the occasion of the 25th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, representatives of Ahwaz Human Rights Organization (AHRO), Saleh Hamid, Sheyma Silawi and Mohamed Bani Saeed attendeda special meeting on Iran's human rights situation in Palais des Nations in Geneva, where the situation of human rights in Iran was discussed in the attendance of the UN's Special Rapporteur Dr. Ahmed Shaheed.

Dr. Shaheed red a summary of his report to the council, expressing his concerns over the deteriorating human rights situation in Iran, which is extremely worrying, and his dismay over the growing rate of ad hoc executions. Afterwards, discussions took place between the Special Rapporteur and the delegations of States and non-governmental organizations. At the end of the meeting, Dr. Shaheed made ​​his concluding remarks and answered all questions and inquiries, as well as the recommendations directed at him,. He further stated in his report that the laws by the new government regarding citizens are good, however he has received disturbing sealed and private  letters concerning the increase in executions, and the difficulty to establish civil society and human rights organizations, as well as censorship of newspapers by the Iranian government.

The especial rapporteur also presented several recommendations of United Nation bodies and said Iran must abide them.He also demanded the Iranian government to interact with the drug enforcement organization. On how he prepared his report Dr. Shaheed stated that "I met 700 citizens and activists of Iran and the victims of human rights violations and representatives of human rights organizations, a third of which live in Iran, through Skype''.

Dr .Shaheed pointed that the government had begun to interact with the mandate and that he was looking forward to a collaboration with the authorities that would allow him to visit the country and address the issues of executions, torture and enforced disappearances, stating that this has been requested by the committee for the past  nine years .

The speech of Dr. Shaheed before the Human Rights Council highlighted the persecution of the people and the execution of Ahwazi Arab martyrs, poet Hadi Rashidi and engineer Hashim Shabani, and the fact that their bodies have not been delivered to their parents till this day,  and called on ending the executions of Muhammad Ali  Amouri and Albushokh  brothers several times.

During this session of the Human Rights Council, the Ahwazi cause in general,  and the executions of Ahwazi human rights activist in  particular, had a wide acclaim and many countries, in particular the United Kingdom and United States  sympathized with the Ahwazi Arab nation, condemning the recent executions and calling on the Iranian authorities to respect rights of the country’s ethnic groups, including Ahwazi Arabs .

The United States delegate stated that the Arabs of Ahwaz, Kurds and Azeris are still suffering from persecution and discrimination, referring to the execution of two Ahwazi Arab citizens for political reasons.

The representative of the UK said ''we support  the statement of the European Union and thank Dr. Shaheed. We look forward to the renewal of his mandate; the report of Dr. Shaheed is a clear evidence of human rights violations and I express my disappointment in the Iranian authorities for not permitting  the Special Rapporteur to  visit Iran''.

She added that she is concerned about the increase in executions and that Iran has to abolish the death penalty against minors and crimes that do not apply to death penalty, also condemning ill-treatment and persecution against religious and ethnic minorities.

On the same matter the Ahwaz Human Rights Organization met with the Canadian representative to the Human Rights Council,Ms. Susan Howe, and thanked Ms. Howe  for the Canadian foreign minister’s statement  last January [2014],  in which he condemned the execution of Ahwazi Arab activists, and discussed how to put pressure on the Iranian government to abide by its international obligations towards ethnic minorities in Iran, respect their rights and put an end to discrimination, racism and practices of ethnic cleansing against Ahwazi Arab people .

During a special side event on the executions in Iran held on Tuesday 18th [March 2014] with Dr. Shaheed Sheyma Silawi from AHRO directed two questions at Dr. Shaheed: "The bodies of the executed activists are not being returned to their family members. In light of the new Fatwa, allowing trafficking of organs of prisoners, not delivering the bodies of Ahwazi activist who have been executed in recent years strengthens AHRO's  doubts about the chance that the organs of these activists have also been stolen. What I want to ask if you have discussed the matter of organ donation of prisoners with death penalty with the Iranian authorities and if not we would like you to ask for an investigation into this matter.

Our second concern is the report by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (AIRC) stating that the sever air pollution in Ahwaz has increased the cancer rate by 500% during the past 6 years. In another report by WHO  - the World Health Organization - Ahwaz was announced as the world’s most polluted city for the second time.

Is this environmental pollution a subject  that  was  discussed by the Iranian authorities?

Dr. Shaheed’s answered that he had put it in his meeting last Friday [14 March 2014] with the Iranian delegation, which included officials from the judiciary system -especially the issue of executions - that he contemplates cooperation of the authorities in the future, and that he expects to have a formal response in the coming days from the competent authorities. At the same time he expressed his concerns about the increasing human rights violations .

In the same seminar Dr. Amiri Moghadam, the spokesman of Iran human rights organization, mentioned the execution of  Ahwazi activists from Falahie and Khalafie and displayed their photos on a screen

At the end of the morning session on March 19, 2014 ,AHRO representative Saleh Hamid spoke with Ms. Rita Isaac, UN expert on minority issues, and introduced to her a comprehensive report on the executions and other human rights violation in Ahwaz. In turn, Ms. Isaacs said she had received the news of the execution of Hashem Shabani and Hadi Rashidi and these executions were included in her  latest report submitted to the UN Human Rights Council.

Translated by UNPO from Arabic.