Nasser Boladai, spokesperson for Balochistan Peoples Party, put forth the notion of institutional discrimination, which systematically violates the rights of the ethnic and religious groups in Iran.
Diverse Iranian ethnic and religious groups gathered at the United Nation in Geneva to discuss the variety of challenges they face due to their ethnic and religious backgrounds.
The session was open by, humanitarian lawyer and the IED delegation to the United Nations, Dr Karen Parker. The panel represented the multinational and diverse society, which Iran is constituted of rather than the image that the regime wants to portray of a nation-state.
Nasser Boladai, spokesperson for Balochistan Peoples Party, put forth the notion of institutional discrimination, which systematically violates the rights of the ethnic and religious groups in Iran. The probation of mother tongue leaves Baloch children with an unfair start in their education. The education system is conducted in Persian and presents only the history of Persians is presented as the history of Iran.
With no historical identification and connection to the native tongue 50 % of the population are alienated. Even though this violates against the article 15 of the constitution, which guaranties ethnic groups the right to used their language as a medium of instruction. Instead the minorities are given inadequate educational opportunities.
He emphasised that international community should support both people and national self determination in the Middle East region. In case where states fail to accommodate oppressed national right and aspiration through federal system, oppressed nationalities struggle for national self determination should be supported in accordance with untied nation charters and conventions.
The ingrained discriminatory acts continue at the adult level with the practices of Gozinesh and Velayate -Faghir. A system used to filtrated non-Shia and non-Persians. The discourse from the central authority is to differentiate between the Shia and Persian population and the rest of the population. Mr Boladai also expressed concern of the extensive use of violence against the Baloch people.
Mr Yasin Ghobish, representative of the Ahwaz Human rights Organization, gave an overview of the situation for the Ahwazi-Arabs. The extreme poverty has paralyzed the society and is a result of deliberate state police. Even though 19 % of the oil and gas industry comes from Ahwaz (Khosestan) the people of the area sees nothing from those revenues. Non-locals are brought in to work and the Ahwazi-Arabs face high rates of unemployment and illiteracy. All high-level positions are appointed to non-Ahwazi and there is no local or regional representation. These facts leave the people of Ahwaz excluded from the political, cultural and economic realm. He also spoke about large amount of human rights activist in the region that have been tortured to death or hanged in public.
Mrs Diane Bahai, international representative of Bahai, concluded, “Iran will only grow if it lets diversity flourish”. Being a Bahai in Iran leave little room for individual freedom. The government has a clear framework of how to deal with the Bahais. As soon as a the student is identified as Bahai the are expelled and left with no opportunity to educate themselves. This leaves Bahai people economically on the margin. She also emphasised on the high degree of intolerance’s, which is an intrinsic part of the system.
Baban ( Kurd) gave an account of how Iran not only violates international treaties but also their own constitution. According to article 14 all people should be treated the same and in accordance with article 15 that guarantees minority and regional languages but this does not reflect reality. The regime controls all aspects of the individuals life, for example the Kurds are not allowed to give their children Kurdish names. The situations for ethnic and religious minorities are going from bad to worse each day. The transition to democracy in Iran should provide its citizens with a framework of regional autonomy. The unity of Iran will only be preserved within a federal where the people could take active part in their lives.
Mr Golmorad, representative of Yarasin , give a historical background over Yarsan religious group in Iran and discrimination that they face in Iran.
Dr Parker expressed her sadness over the extensive use of hate and intolerance against the ethnic and religious minorities and argued that the actions of the regime should be seen as ethnic cleansing.
This conference was organised by Association of Human Rights in Kurdistan of Iran-Geneva (KMMK-G), International Educational Development Inc. (IED) and
Association of Humanitarian Lawyers (AHL)