Jun 14, 2023

UNPO Participates in the conference "Woman, Life, Freedom Uprising in Iran: Iran at the crossroads between Repression or Revolution" at the European Parliament

On 6 June 2023, UNPO participated in the conference ‘Woman, Life, Freedom Uprising in Iran: Iran at the crossroads between Repression or Revolution?’ . The conference was hosted by three fractions of the European parliament: The social democrats (S&D), the Greens, and the Left group in the European Parliament – GUE/NGL,  with the collaboration of the Kurdish Institute of Brussels and the participation of Ms Evin Incir, MEP from Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament.

Speakers included prominent human rights activists, feminists, authors, labour rights activists, academics and political party leaders from Eastern Kurdistan (Iran) . Representatives from minorities such as Baluch, Kurdish, Ahwazi Arab and Azerbaijani Turks shared their opinions on three difference panels: (1) historical roots of the current crisis, (2) views and responsibilities of ethnics in the process of democratization of Iran and finally, (3) the way forward: proposals for solutions.

Shima Silavi, Project Manager at UNPO presented her speech during the first panel. She made reference to the historical background of the struggle of non-Persian minorities in Iran and its connection to ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’, highlighting that Iran is like a Mosaic, and in order to create a better future for Iran, diversity and inclusion must be promoted and put in practice. Silavi, in her speech challenged the dominant narrative about Iran as a nation state with one language, culture, history and religion and invited the European policy makers to engage with the democratic forces from minorities in Iran.

Fariba Baluch, women rights activist from Western Baluchistan (Iran) dedicated her speech to the issues concerning women in Baluchistan and challenges faced by women and girls in this impoverished and underdeveloped part of the country. She also highlighted the alarming rate of executions in Baluchistan, citing Amnesty International statistics, she highlighted that “Iran’s most persecuted and economically disadvantaged Baloch ethnic and religious minority account for around 20 percent of the recorded executions despite making up only five per cent of Iran’s population.”

Meytham Al Mahdi, Ahwazi Arab labour rights activist and Mr. Behrouz Boochani, Kurdish author in turnexpressed their perspectives on the ongoing movement in Iran. They emphasized the importance of gaining a comprehensive understanding of the complexities within Iranian society and highlighted the significance of including marginalized groups, particularly women and ethnic minorities or oppressed nations, in discussions about the future of Iran.

Other speakers included Mr. Ebrahim Alizadeh, Spokesperson of the Komala, Kurdistan's Organization of the Communist Party of Iran, Mr. Mustafa Hijri, leader of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (KDPI), Mr. Siamand Moeini, Joint Leadership of The Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK), Mr. Nasser Boladai, Spokesperson of Baluchistan People's Party. They discussed issues around crucial topics such as the opportunities for Kurdish alliances, the urgent need for social justice in Iran, the significance of finding a comprehensive solution that takes into account Iran's ethnic diversity, and a range of other political, social and ecological projects for a democratic Iran.

UNPO will continue its efforts in raising the voice of oppressed minorities in Iran and other parts of the world and advocating for their rights on international level including the European Parliament.