Uncovering repression against Iran’s ethnic, religious, and linguistic minorities
In conjunction with the planned report of the Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran to the UN Human Rights Council, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) and Minority Rights Group International (MRG) will host a parallel event titled “Minority Rights in Iran” The event will take place in Room XXIII of the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland on 14 March 2012 from 12:00 – 14:00, and will include contributions from minority and NGO representatives. Through this event, UNPO and MRG aim to focus attention on the human rights situation of ethnic, religious, and linguistic minorities in Iran.
Iran’s population includes a large number of religious, ethnic, and linguistic minorities. These groups are highly diverse, but share common experiences of economic marginalization, political repression and denial of even the most basic of cultural rights. As the country begins its first round of elections since 2009, when disputed Presidential polls sparked widespread protest, the Iranian government has been cracking down on dissent with increasing severity. While abuses against activists, journalists, and members of the political opposition have been widely documented and discussed, the relative severity and pervasiveness of abuses against Iran’s minority populations, though well documented by international NGOs and United Nations human rights bodies, tend to receive significantly less public attention. Since 2009, however, issues of equality and minority rights have steadily gained the attention of Iranian academics, media and activists both within and outside of Iran, marking a growing recognition among the populace of the importance of these issues to the future of democracy and freedom in the country. This growing popular support should now be matched by concrete action from the government.
This event will highlight some of the most pressing issues currently facing minorities in Iran. Confirmed speakers include Mark Lattimer (Executive Director, Minority Rights Group), Monireh Sulemani (Balochistan Peoples Party), Karim Abdian (Director, Ahwaz Human Rights Organization, Fakhteh Zamani (Director, Association for the Defense of Azerbaijani Political Prisoners, and Antonia Bertschinger (Amnesty International). Speakers will present a picture of the state of minority rights in present-day Iran, and explore possibilities for national and international initiatives towards guaranteeing the political, economic and cultural rights of these marginalized groups.