Sep 11, 2008

West Balochistan: Violations of Human Rights Continue

Sample ImageRecent arrest of human rights activist highlights ongoing human rights abuse.

Below is an article published by the Balochistan Peoples’ Front :
Following the arrest of 5 Baloch human rights activists on Sunday 7 September [2008] two more civil society campaigners were arrested [10 September 2008]. Mohammad Hussain Khalili and Mohammad Reza Rakhshani who run a cultural society were violently arrested and taken to an unknown location.

This new round of arrests began after the Islamic Republic of Iran demolished a Sunni mosque and school in Baluchistan on 27 August 2008.  The Iranian authorities have ruthlessly violated the human rights in Baluchistan in spite of universal of Declaration of Human Rights Charter as the article 18 states,

"Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance."

The human rights activists condemned widely the demolition of the school in which 800 students were studying.  The school and mosque were completely financed by the people.  The buildings were donated to the school by the people.

The reports suggested the human rights activists who criticised the demolition of Sunni mosque were identified and arrested.  According to Baluchistan Human Rights Watch and, the following human rights activists have been arrested.  
  1. Abdoulrahman Shahbakhsh (The brother of Moulavi Hafez Mohammad Ali, the Headmaster of Imam Abuhanifa sunni religious school).
  2. Noor Mohammad Shahbakhsh  (The brother of Moulavi Hafez Mohammad Ali, the Headmaster of Imam Abuhanifa sunni religious school).
  3. Abdoulkarim  (The nephew of Moulavi Hafez Mohammad Ali, the Headmaster of Imam Abuhanifa sunni religious school).
  4. Abdoulghader Naroui
  5. Azizullah Naroui
  6. Mohammad Hossein Khalili
  7. Mohammad Reza Rakhshani
In addition to these activists whose identities have been disclosed, dozens of more Baluch people have been arrested in the last few days.  The Isna news Agency reported that 26 Baluch have been arrested last week. Mowlavi Ahmad Narouee, a prominent religious leader and a lecturer was arrested about a month ago and nobody knows what has happened to him.

The families of those who have been arrested were not informed of their charges or the location of the prison.  These human rights activists have been arrested in breach of article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Charter as it states:

"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

The crackdown on Baluch political movement and human rights activities is in response to Baluch People's demands for full participation in the political process of Iran and participation in the government as the article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Charter clearly indicates that every citizen of a country is entitled to have a part in the government of his country.  Since the Baluch people have been completely deprived of their legal rights of participation in the government of Iran, they began to demonstrate their grievances against the central government of Iran and demanded the implementation of the declaration of human rights charter.

Article 21.

(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
(2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.

Every time the Baluch people demand justice and implementation of United Nations Charters and Conventions, the Islamic Republic of Iran reacts with violent and ruthless measures which further violate the human rights of the Baluch people.  Furthermore, the Iranian authorities have prohibited cultural activities of Baluch people who have a very distinct and rich cultural heritage despite Article 27 that says,
"(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits."

The Baluch people strive to restore their dignity and respect and secure their religious and political rights.  Baluchistan is the most backward province in Iran while a United Nations research proved that the children in Baluchistan had the highest IQ in the country. The Iranian government is continuously repressing the most talented people of Iran. The international community and human rights organizations must condemn the violations of human rights in Baluchistan and pressurise the government to respect the rights of its citizens and facilitate their full participation in political, economic and cultural activities.