The rights of Ahwazi women and children raised at the Meeting held in Geneva on 21st September 2018 that was coincided with the UNHRC 39th Sessio

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26 Sep 2018

Ladies and gentlemen,

As I address you today, I would like to shed light on the violation perpetrated against the rights of Ahwazi women and children in Iran.

Gender inequality in Iran in general, and in Ahwaz in particular, remains a serious problem, leaving women and girls in a poor standard of living and vulnerable to constant abuse and violation of their rights. The applicable laws in Iran do not provide them with the proper protection. Still, the Iranian state is reluctant to ratify the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women [1] and to recognise the international norms for women.

The Ahwazi women face profound difficulties on their own occupied land. Ahwazi women have been deprived of working in the governmental departments and private sectors due to the on-going discrimination against them. In addition, tens of Ahwazi women have been jailed and tortured in Iranian notorious prisons; and some of them were executed in the public or inside prisons.

Fahimeh Badawi and her husband were taken to prison. The Husband was tortured savagely in presence of the wife and likewise, Fahimeh Badawi was tortured in presence of her Husband on a daily basis. After few months of torturing the husband, he was executed in the prison. The pregnant wife then had delivered her child in the prison. The Iranian regime did not provide her with special treatment during her pregnancy and her delivery, disregarding the international rule and regulation about the right of a pregnant woman. The Iranian regime continued torturing Fahimeh during her pregnancy and after her delivery. This injustice cannot be forgiven under any pretext; hence we would like to urge the Human Rights Council to look at this important case and take the necessary action against the regime’s brutality.

Another respectful activist from Ahwazi community called Maryam Zubaidi, was also taken to prison and tortured constantly. She was threated of rape, killing and many more. The confession was taken from her under torture. She was forced to appear in front the Iranian national TV channel against her will to deny publicly the regime’s brutality and injustice.

As a result of the limitations placed on the learning Arabic language in schools, and also, since Ahwazi families are kept at the bottom of socio-economic level, their children are not able to continue their education. Therefore, the dropout and illiteracy rates are reportedly very high in Ahwaz. Yet child labour has become a phenomenon that is cutting across society. [2] Children are often working under the very high temperature of almost 50 degrees. They work under very harsh and dangerous environment, collecting plastic from garbage and washing car’s windows on the roads. On some occasions, the children lose their lives in tragic accidents.

According to official reports, more than 40 percent of schools in Ahwaz are unsafe for leaning and are susceptible to collapse. [3] The other dangers that affect the well-being and education of the children in Ahwaz include the pollution of water from sugar-cane farming and the surge of sandstorms in the last 15 years. To explain the cause of such regular storms, environmental experts made connection between the construction of 60 dams on Ahwazi rivers and tunnelling this water to central provinces in Iran and hindering the flow of water in Ahwazi rivers. [4]

Regular dust storms and air pollution are harmful to children due to their physical vulnerability. As a result of such pollution, psychology experts explained that children are more likely to acquire behavioural disorders, aggression, nervousness, physical violence, memory impairment and lack of attention and focus in the school which finally increase the educational dropout. [5]

It has been reported that Arab children were denied a family environment, particularly whom their parents were killed or imprisoned. Also, the high level of poverty and poor living conditions are the major issues facing children since some parts of Ahwaz ‘completely lack basic services such as electricity, plumbing, sewage systems, public transport, medical facilities or schools which negatively impact children. [6]

Despite the fact that Iran is party to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, there is a widespread discrimination against Ahwazi children. They face ‘arrests, detention, imprisonment, killing, torture and execution of members of such groups by law enforcement and judicial authorities.’ Also, the regime in Iran puts tremendous pressure on art and culture of Ahwazi children, violating their right to have newspapers, books and journals in their native language. [7]

In the end, it is urgent the Iranian state should ratify the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and its following Protocols and recognise the rights guaranteed to Ahwazi women under this Convention. Also, it is an urgent issue that the state concerned provides positive discrimination for Ahwazi children in order for them to enjoy the international rights enshrined for them in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Protocols.

Thank you

Ahwazi Organization for the Defence of Human Rights

References

[1] Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, GA Res 34/180, 18 December 1979.

[2] Asre Jonoob, ‘Identifying about 520 child labour in Khuzestan’ (8 May 2018) <http://www.asrejonoob.ir/social/39489/شناساییحدود۵۲۰کودککاردرخوزستان> accessed 30 August 2018.

[3] Iranian Student’s News Agency, ‘Only 44 percent of classrooms are safe in Khuzestan province’ (21 July 2018) <https://www.isna.ir/news/97043016331/تنها-44-درصدکلاسهایدرسدرخوزستانایمنهستند> accessed 28 July 2018.

[4] Iranian Student’s News Agency, ‘Khuzestan representatives stressed the need to control the crisis centres in order to prevent the entry of dust’ (1 December 2017) <https://www.isna.ir/news/96090100205/تاکیدنمایندگانخوزستانبرکنترلکانونهایبحرانیجهتجلوگیری> accessed 28 July 2018.

[5] Mashregh News, ‘All side effects of dust pollution in Khuzestan province’ (14 February 2015) <https://www.mashreghnews.ir/news/389172/همهعوارضگردوغباردرخوزستان> accessed 28 July 2018.

[6] UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Concluding observations on the combined third and fourth periodic reports of the Islamic Republic of Iran, CRC/C/IRN/CO/3-4, 14 March 2016, para 64-65 and 73-76.

[7] UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Concluding observations on the combined third and fourth periodic reports of the Islamic Republic of Iran, CRC/C/IRN/CO/3-4, 14 March 2016, para 83-84.

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