Iran: Non-Persian ethnic groups warn of massacres

  • Written by:

SOCIETY FOR THREATENED PEOPLES
 PRESS RELEASE Göttingen/Frankfurt a. M., 22.06.2009

IRAN: Representatives of non-Persian ethnic groups speak of electoral
 fraud and warn of massacres

While the Iranian security forces proceed with relentless callousness
against the peaceful protests in the country, representatives of the
 Iranian nationalities spoke last Saturday at the conference “Questions of
 Nationality and Democracy” in Frankfurt am Main on the subject of
 electoral fraud. The conference was organised by the Society for
 Threatened Peoples (GfbV), the Friedrich Naumann Foundation FÜR DIE
 FREIHEIT (For Freedom) and the Karl Hermann Flach Foundation. Taking part
 were representatives of the non-Persian nationalities of Iran, the
 approximately 20 million Azerbaijanis, the approximately 15 million Kurds,
 the 4.5 million Gulf Arabs, the 2.4 million Baluchi, the zwo million
 Turkmens and other smaller ethnic groups and religious communities.
 Particularly moving was the contribution of a representative of the
 Iranian women’s movement.

Those present at the conference saw the background for the “massive
 electoral fraud” and the following cruel repression in the promise of the
 two presidential candidates and reformers, Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hussein
 Mussawi, to respect in future the language and minority rights of the
 non-Persian peoples. In the run-up to the election the Islamic leaders had
 warned the two reformers against “playing with fire”.

Since free reporting by international media on protests against electoral
 fraud is forbidden, the spokespersons for the nationalities warned of the
 danger that the Iranian security forces would take advantage of the
 situation and once again carry out massacres against non-Persian ethnic
 groups, who make up 60% of the total population of Iran. Since 13th June
 there have been at least 24 persons killed, hundreds injured and at least
 458 arrested.

According to reports received by the GfbV the non-violent democratic
 movement has long since spread to the smaller towns and rural regions of
 Iran.

The following Resolution was passed unanimously:
 Nationalities and Democracy in Iran
 20th June 2009, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
 Draft

Concluding Resolution

The human rights situation of non-Persian ethnicities and religious
 minorities in Iran remains deplorable.

Azerbaijanis, Kurds, Arabs, Belochs, Turkmen and other smaller ethnic
 groups as well as religious denominations, in particular, the Baha’i,
 Christian converts, Zoroastrians, Assyrians, Armenians, Ahl-e Haqqs,
 Mandaeans and Jews living in Iran continue to be oppressed.

In the last few days after election results were announced, the Iranian
 regime’s security forces bludgeoned and shot at demonstrators protesting a
 possible election fraud. At least seven people have died during the
 protests.
The everyday lives of non-Persian ethnic groups and non-Shiite religious
 communities, whose members make up around 60 percent of the population,
 are fraught almost constantly by violent attacks, persecution,
 discrimination and murder. Systematic discrimination against women and
 violent oppression are unacceptable. These conditions in the multinational
 state of Iran must finally be brought to an end. A solution must be found
 that allow all in Iran to live a peaceful life and to be guaranteed the
 protection of their human rights and an equal share of political power in
 the state. For this reason, we plead for a fundamental change in the
Iranian constitution:

We demand the establishment of a democratic, federal, secular system in
 Iran wherein national unity remains protected while the national,
 political and cultural rights of all peoples and religious groups living
 in Iran are recognized and substantiated as well.

The creation of federal states or autonomous regions with self-government
 for these peoples will form the groundwork for stability and unity in a
 new federal Iran.

Furthermore, we demand the recognition of the languages of these mentioned
peoples on equal terms with Persian as well as corresponding education and
school policies.

We demand the establishment of equal rights for women according to Iran’s
 public international law obligations.

We appeal to the Federal Republic of Germany to include the issues of
 nationalities and human rights more staunchly in its policies toward Iran
 and to defend the rights of non-Persian ethnic groups and religious
 minorities.

We thank the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, the Karl-Hermann
 Flach Foundation as well as the Society for Threatened Peoples for
 organizing this conference on Nationalities and Democracy in Iran. We
 would like to urge the organizations to establish a platform for the
 discussion of federalism in order to continue the work done today.

The resolution was read aloud and unanimously adopted.