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3.

Huma n Ri ghts Counci l , Forum on Mi nori ty Is s ues – 9th s es s i on - 24 a nd 25 November 2016 _ Geneva
Interventi on by Dr. Ka ri m Abdi a n, Executi ve Di rector- Ahwa z Educa ti on a nd Huma n Ri ghts Founda ti on.
Agenda i tem 5. : Recovering from a crisis: ensuring durable solutions.

Tha nk you Mr./Ma da m cha i r for thi s opportuni ty:
My na me i s Ka ri m Abdi a n from, executi ve di rector of Ahwa z Educa ti on a nd Huma n Ri ghts Founda ti on- a n NGO wi th focus to enha nce educa ti on
of the Ahwa zi -Ara b mi nori ty i n s outhwes tern Ira n.
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Res i di ng ma i nl y i n the s outhwes t of Ira n, the Ahwa zi -Ara bs a re one of Ira n’s mos t di s a dva nta ged a nd pers ecuted ethni c groups .
Ara bs es ti ma ted to be between 5-7 mi l l i on or a bout 10% of the popul a ti on who l i ve i n the s outhwes tern regi on of Ira n, i n the provi nce
of Khuzes ta n or a s ca l l ed by i ts i ndi genous na me, eghl i m Al -Ahwa z or Ara bi s ta n. The Ahwa zi s a re i n the mi ds t of i denti ty cri s i s -The
regi me cha nged the Ara bi c na me to Pers i a n one to deny the Ahwa zi s thei r Ara b i denti ty – a dura bl e s ol uti on woul d be to cha nge to i ts
ori gi na l na me, Ara bi s ta n.

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Ahwa zi s a re a n ethni c, na ti ona l a nd l i ngui s ti c mi nori ty i n Ira n. Hi s tori ca l l y, thi s i ndi genous Ara b communi ty ha s been ma rgi na l i zed,
excl uded a nd di s cri mi na ted a ga i ns t by s ucces s i ve governments i n Ira n. The provi nce a ccounts for up to 90% of Ira n’s oi l GDP. Al s o 80%
of Ira ni a n wea l th comes from our l a nd- a l l oca te s ome porti on of the oi l revenue to the regi on through l egi s l a ti on.

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Ahwa zi Ara bs a re s ubjected to a mi xture of Pers i a ni s a ti on, forced mi gra ti on, vi ol ent pol i ti ca l repres s i on a nd economi c excl us i on es ta bl i s h a quota of 33% (1/3) empl oyment for the l oca l na ti ves .

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The Ahwa zi Ara b Na ti on i n Ira n ha s not been a l l owed to pa rti ci pa te i n runni ng i ts own a ffa i rs . It does not ha ve l oca l or genui ne
na ti ona l repres enta ti on. The Ara b mi nori ty i n Ira n i s tota l l y depri ved of i ts ci vi l , cul tura l , economi c, pol i ti ca l a nd s oci a l ri ghts - a
dura bl e s ol uti on woul d be to a l l ow l oca l governa nce wi th repres enta ti on from Ahwa zi s

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Khuzes ta n’s pol i ti ca l , mi l i ta ry a nd s ecuri ty comma nders , offi cers , ma yors a nd a l l hi gh a nd mi d-l evel government offi ci a l s of Khuzes ta n
ha ve cons i s tentl y been a ppoi nted from non-Ara b a rea s – a l l ow l oca l empl oyment i n government.

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Among Ahwa zi s , the i l l i tera cy ra te i s 4 ti mes the na ti ona l a vera ge. And unempl oyment i s 6 ti mes the na ti ona l a vera ge.
Ara bi c a nd a l l other non-Pers i a n l a ngua ges s uch a s Kurdi s h, Turki s h a nd Ba l uchi a re ba nned therefore denyi ng them thei r l i ngui s ti c
ri ghts a nd the competi ti venes s i n the job ma rket- Impl ement Ira n a rti cl es 15 a nd 19 by a l l owi ng l oca l Ara bi c mother l a ngua ge to be
though i n el ementa ry s chool s . Al l ow Ara bs to s tudy i n thei r own l a ngua ge to reduce the hi gh i l l i tera cy ra te a mong Ahwa zi s .

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Ahwa zi -Ara b peopl e ha ve been s ubjected to a forci bl e popul a ti on tra ns fer progra m. In the pa s t 15 yea rs 1.2 mi l l i on Ahwa zi s ha ve
been forceful l y di s pl a ced i nto centra l provi nces whi l s t 1.5 mi l l i on non-Indi genous Pers i a ns were rel oca ted i nto government-funded
res ettl ement towns s uch a s Ra mi n, 1, 2, 3, a nd Shi ri n-Sha hr i n Ara b ci ti es i n Khuzes ta n.

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We a re fi ghti ng to hol d on to thei r na ti ona l i denti ty, cul ture a nd l a ngua ge whi l e the Sta te ha s excl uded us from the Ira ni a n
l a nds ca pe, pol i ti ca l l y, economi ca l l y a nd s oci a l l y – i mpl ement ICCP.

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The Is l a mi c Republ i c ha s cons i s tentl y i gnored the dema nds of Ahwa zi -Ara b a nd other non-Pers i a n mi nori ty groups to i mpl ement
Arti cl es 15 a nd 19 of the 1979 Cons ti tuti on, whi ch gua ra ntee the us e of regi ona l l a ngua ges a nd equa l ri ghts of ethni c groups . It does
not a cknowl edge a nd/or recogni ze the exi s tence of Ahwa zi -Ara bs a s a peopl e, na ti ona l i ty or a communi ty.
Duri ng the pa s t 8 yea rs , Ira n cons tructed 4 Da ms , Ma s ji ds ol i ma n, Dez, Gha roon a nd Ga tva nd on Ka roon Ri ver a nd di verted i ts wa ter
from Ara b provi nce to Pers i a n provi nces of Is fa ha n a nd Ra fs a nja n. Thi s i s whi l e he regi on i s s ufferi ng from a wa ter cri s i s . Ma jori ty of
Khuzes ta n (Ara bi s ta n) provi nce. – Stop di vers i on f Ka roon Ri ver to Pers i a n provi nces .
Accordi ng to the Huma n Ri ghts Wa tch Report, “Mi l l i ons of La nd mi nes rema i ni ng from the Ira n-Ira q wa r i n the provi nce of Khuzes ta n
ki l l a nd ma i m i ndi genous i nha bi ta nts of Khuzes ta n i n s outh-wes tern Ira n every da y”. Mos t of thes e a re gi rl s a nd boys who work i n the
fi el ds – i ni ti a te demi ni ng
Ba nni ng of our mother l a ngua ge corres ponds to ba nni ng our l i tera tures a nd cul tures - i nduci ng a nd crea ti ng unequa l , degreed
ci ti zens hi p – res pect col l ecti ve ri ghts of Ahwa zi s
The Worl d Hea l th Orga ni za ti on ha s l i s ted Ahwa z Ci ty, the provi nci a l ca pi ta l of Khuzes ta n provi nce, the mos t pol l uted ci ty on the
pl a net. Thi s i s due to ma n-ma de des erti fi ca ti on ca us ed by the di vers i on of wa ters of Khuzes ta n's two ma i n ri vers - the Kroon a nd
Ka rkeh – Stop bui l di ng da ms on Ahwa zi -Ara b l a nd i rres pons i bl y
The a nci ent a nd uni que Hor Al -Azi m ma rs h i s threa tened by conti nui ng oi l expl oi ta ti on wi th utter di s rega rds for the ecos ys tem tha t i s
cruci a l to regul a ti ng moi s ture a nd tempera tures i n a n otherwi s e hot a nd a ri d regi on - Res tore Hor-Al zm

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Recommenda ti ons to res pecti ng mi nori ty ri ghts a s a mea ns of preventi ng or mi ti ga ti ng cri s es :
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Tha t Ira n cons ti tuti ona l l y a nd publ i ca l l y recogni zes a nd a cknowl edges the exi s tence a nd the group ri ghts of the Ahwa zi - Ara b

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Fa ci l i ta te economi c pa rti ci pa ti on by a l l oca ti ng a porti on of the va s t oi l revenue for the devel opment of Ara b homel a nd i n Khuzes ta n
a nd empl oy l oca l a nd na ti ve Ahwa zi s i n the oi l a nd Ga s i ndus tri es to fos ter pol i ti ca l pa rti ci pa ti on.

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The Ira ni a n government a l l ows l oca l s el f –rul e a nd es ta bl i s hes a l oca l repres enta ti ve Ahwa zi pa rl i a ment i n the Ara b-Ma jori ty
Khuzes ta n provi nce.

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