Mar 10, 2017

Iran: Swiss Parliament Conference Raises Awareness for Plight of Minority Groups

Photo courtesy of Ahwaz Human Rights Organisation

A variety of human rights groups, political activists and minority representatives convened at Swiss Parliament on 8 March 2017 for a conference concerning the current situations for ethnic, cultural, and linguistic minorities in Iran. The event, to which four UNPO Members participated, addressed the many issues affecting the country’s various national groups, including religious persecution, discriminatory policies, and deteriorating infrastructure. In a presentation on the experience of ethnic minorities in Iran, Mr Karim Abdian, executive director of the Ahwaz Human Rights Organisation, emphasised the necessity of solidarity between both minorities within Iran and members of the international community. Among the panellists were Nobel Peace Prize Shirin Ebadi and UNPO President Nasser Boladai.


The article below was published by the Ahwaz Human Rights Organisation:

Wednesday 8th of March (2017), Human rights organisations and political parties representing nationalities in Iran held a conference titled “Minorities in Iran: Has there been any progress during Hassan Rouhani’s presidency?” in Swiss Parliament.

Members of Swiss Parliament and prominent human rights advocates, Nobel prize winner lawyer Shirin Ebadi, Carlo Sommaruga, Sibel Arslan, Manuel Tornare, Mustafa Hijri, the General Secretary of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (KDPI), Nasser Boladai, Secretary of the Baluchistan People's Party, Karim Abdian, Executive Director Of Ahwaz Human Rights Organisation, Joussef Kor from Turkeman cultural and political organisation, M. Razmi researcher and Azerbaijani Turk political activist, Taimoor Aliassi, representative of the Association for Human Rights in Kurdistan of Iran in Geneva (KMMK-G), were among the speakers.

Manuel Tornare, member of Swiss national council who along with Sibel Arslan, from Green Party of Switzerland hosted the conference stated in the opening of the meeting “Switzerland is a sample of a multinational, democratic federal country, and it can be an example for countries with ethnic, cultural and linguistic diversity.

Shirin Ebadi in relation to the situation of different ethnicities in Iran, reported that these nationalities suffer due to their language, culture, religion and identity.

Dr. Karim Abdian Banisaeid, executive director of Ahwaz Human Rights Organisation, in his speech reaffirmed that Middle Eastern countries, especially Iran, have always been the center of oppression and marginalisation of ethnic minorities.

By referring to discriminative policies of Islamic Republic of Iran against Arabs including unemployment, plunder of the wealth, demographic changes, deliberate destruction of environment, water transfer projects, lack of services and power outages which caused the recent uproars Abdian stated that: “the only solution to end the discrimination is the unity of nationalities in Iran and the international support for their struggle.”

Mustafa Hejri, the General Secretary of KDPI introduced statistics over the discrimination exercised against Kurds since the inception of Islamic regime in Iran adding that the policies followed by the regime has affected negatively the lives of different ethnicities in Iran which make up half of the population of Iran.

In the end of the conference, number of Swiss parliamentarians called for more pressure on the Iranian government concerning the human rights violations and discriminative policies against ethnicities during the negotiations between European countries with Tehran.