Oct 20, 2021

West Balochistan : UNPO Welcomes UN Special Rapporteurs Taking Up Arbabi Case With Iran Government

UNPO welcomes the adoption of the case of the enforced disappearance of the West Baloch Hamidullah Arbabi, by the respective UN Special Rapporteurs for Iran, Arbitrary Detention, Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances and Torture. Mr Arbabi’s disappearance, like so many other minority ethnic citizens who dare speak out in Iran, is symptomatic of a broader issue of lack of respect for the basic civil and political rights Iran has signed up to as a UN member.

UNPO, alongside the Balochistan Human Rights Group, had asked the Special Rapporteurs to intervene after the latest disappearance of a Baluch activist was reported to them. Mr Arbari’s spouses and brother filed a complaint in Iran on March 21 2019 saying that Mr Arbari was kidnapped by men in military uniform, and UNPO took the case to the international fora. His whereabouts since early 2019 have been unknown, and his bank accounts have been shut down.

Mr Arbari had criticized the Government on social media for their heavy handed human rights violations in the Sistan-Baluchistan province. Iranian authorities have confirmed that the initial arrest was registered, but deny knowing about the nature of the armed military gunmen that stormed his house. This classic plausible deniability response is often deployed by the Iranian regime in order to ignore the concerns of the international community, showing little responsibility for the livelihood of the person in question.

Iran continues to be a leading pariah state when it comes to enforced disappearances of activists.This is especially the case with minority rights activists. Indeed, in addition to Mr Arbabi an Ahwaz activist was also raised in the case, a Mr Fallah Heidari. UNPO has previously drawn attention to the disappearance of minority activists in Iran as a subject of concern.

In addition to bringing these to the attention of the Special Rapporteur, UNPO is asking the EU and other international actors to reconsider the increasing softening of their position on Iran. A new dimension to any trading relationship must be found. That includes ensuring the Iranian government improves their record on enforced disappearances, democratic accountability and minority rights as a whole. The letter of the Special Rapporteurs to the Iranian government can be found in the sidebar.