Ahwazi: Dutch Activist Still Held Incommunicado
The Dutch government announced last week that they had received notification from the Syrian foreign ministry that the ALO leader, who has lived in the Dutch city of Maastricht since 1989, had been deported under the terms of a bilateral Syria-Iran co-operation treaty on 16 May. He was deported along with four other Ahwazis, all of whom are registered as refugees with the UNHCR.
Mr. Al-Mansouri is a well-known Groen Links (Green Left) party activist and human rights campaigner in Maastricht and the Belgian and Dutch branches of Amnesty International have been campaigning for his release, unaware that Syria had already transferred him to Iran.
Nasser Bani Assad, spokesman for the British Ahwazi Friendship Society, has called for action on the part of the Dutch government, questioning the lack of successful efforts so far in the Al-Mansouri case. He adds that: Al-Mansouri's organisation is not proscribed in the EU, he is not a terrorist, he is not an Islamist, he is a law-abiding Dutch citizen and he is entitled to his lawful views.[..] he is a Dutch citizen and the Dutch government and the European Commission have a moral and legal obligation to do whatever they can to ensure that Al-Mansouri is released from Iranian custody unharmed.
Source: British Ahwazi Friendship Society (www.ahwaz.org.uk)
UNPO is deeply concerned at the news that the Syrian government has deported all Ahwazis, including UNHCR registered refugees, as well as the abovementioned Dutch national, in its custody to Iran. Furthermore, Mr. Said Awdeh Saki, a UNHCR registered refugee who was due to be relocated to Norway, was deported previously to Iran and his location is currently unknown.
The Ahwazi have been a UNPO Member since 2003 and UNPO continues to monitor related developments in Iran, in particular the worsening situation Ahwazis face in terms of arrest, torture and execution. UNPO General Secretary, Mr. Marino Busdachin states: Recent events continue to demonstrate the total lack of respect for international human rights standards and the vulnerability of specifically national minority groups and indigenous peoples in Iran, such as the Ahwazi. These groups continue to suffer systematic discrimination, and the international human rights community has so far failed to address this issue sufficiently.
Mr. Busdachin adds that a comprehensive approach to human rights and effective democratisation in the region is required and calls upon international actors and institutions to support initiatives involving minority groups within Iran promoting non-violent methodologies for democracy and human rights. These groups can constitute the critical elements for a viable, legitimate and effective strategy for a just and democratic Iran, respectful of the international human rights treaties it has pledged to adhere to, the UNPO General Secretary concludes.