Ahwaz: Joint Ahwazi Statement Against Violence
We, the groups supporting Ahwazi Arab rights and democracy, condemn all political violence and killings in Iran, no matter what their origin. We stand by the principle of non-violent resistance and embrace all like-minded movements that support minority rights and democracy in Iran, no matter their ethnicity, religion or gender. We do not support separatism, but advocate a devolved federal system of government similar to the systems adopted by some of the world's largest democracies.
The Ahwazis endure high levels of poverty due to a land confiscation programme that has profited only the Iranian elite and foreign oil companies. Over the past year, Ahwazi Arabs have staged mass protests against the government which started as peaceful demonstrations against tyranny and destitution. They have used symbols of their identity to display their resistance to ethnic cleansing, notably the kuffiyeh, which have subsequently been banned by the regime. The regime has provoked riots by shooting demonstrators and arresting anyone wearing the kuffiyeh, including the elderly and children. However, no Ahwazi has used arms or explosive bombs in these demonstrations. Moreover, the Iranian government has not published any proof that Ahwazi Arabs or their democratic supporters abroad were involved in the bomb attacks that occurred in June, September and October 2005 and January 2006.
Despite frequent reports by human rights organisations and condemnation of the treatment of Ahwazis by the UNCHR and the European Parliament, their brutal treatment goes unreported by the world media. But we believe that democracy can only exist in the Middle East when democratic movements such as the Ahwazi rights movement are given support and solidarity.
We call on politicians, non-governmental organisations and international bodies to recognise the suffering of the Ahwazi Arab people and the repression, economic marginalisation and state terrorism they face.
Democratic Solidarity Party of Ahwaz
National United Movement of Al-Ahwaz
Ahwaz Studies Centre
British Ahwazi Friendship Society