Gulf European Centre for Human Rights
GECHR calls for international investigations during 14th anniversary of Al-Ahwazi Intifada
17th April 2019
Humiliation, discrimination and oppression. These are facts of life in Al-Ahwaz Territories. Yet the Iranian government continues to suppress Ahwazi and the theft of Ahwazi agricultural and residential lands by allowing Iranian officials companies mainly belonging to the IRGC to search for oil, gas and sugar cane in Ahwazi lands, as well as encouraging the settlers to move to Ahwaz for changing the demographic of the land.
For more than 90 years, and especially since the advent of the current regime in 1979, the Ahwazi have faced the worst policies of the official authorities such as poverty and homelessness, marginalisation and unemployment, causing many Ahwazi or living below the poverty line or forced to leave their homeland towards other regions inside Iran or out of Iran, mainly European countries as political refugees. However, if activists and other groups of people oppose the policies of the Iranian authorities then they will be detained, arrested, killed and tortured – all to make sufficient opportunity for more illegal Iranian settlements to be built in Ahwaz through displacing the Ahwazi from their lands.
The policies of the Iranian authorities have caused Ahwazi citizens to hold several demonstrations and protests, but the authorities use violence to suppress protests rather than resolve the crisis. However, the April 15, 2005 uprising remains an important turning point in the history of the Ahwazi Arab people's struggle to gain their legitimate rights and stand in the face of policies aimed at changing their demographic and make them as a minority in their country. Although the Iranian authorities were able to suppress the Ahwazi uprising in 2005 through means of oppression, but the April 15, 2005 protest’s roots have been continuing to this day, in which Ahwazi people inside and outside their country celebrate the 15th April Intifada, and call on the international community to hold accountable those who have committed crimes against the Ahwazi people.
Clashes broke out between the Iranian security forces and the Ahwazi demonstrators in several cities of Ahwaz, specifically Ahwaz capital city, and al-Hamidiya west of the capital, after Abtahi's letter was published about a plan to change the demographics of the region. Therefore, this uprising came against the background of the policies of national oppression on the one hand and the attempt of the Arab people to get rid of these policies on the other. However, the Iranian authorities, as usual and instead of taking responsibility to settle problems, they began to persecute Ahwazi people, in which hundred Ahwazi killed, executed, tortured and around 16,000 detained.
Therefore, the Gulf European Centre for Human Rights calls for international investigations on the policy of the Iranian authorities aimed at changing Ahwaz's demographics in their lands through the construction of settlements, the displacement of Ahwazi, the drying of rivers and marshes, the desecration of the land and the policy of opening dams until the Ahwazi citizen is forced to migrate towards unknown. Hence, these policies are crimes against humanity and a violation of international humanitarian law and international human rights law. International investigations are therefore required to punish official figures in the Iranian regime for committing crimes against Ahwazi people, particularly crimes committed against Ahwazi protestors in April 2005.
- The Iranian authorities must release all detainees and hold accountable the criminals who ordered to kill Ahwazi in April 2005 Ahwazi Intifada.
- The Iranian authorities should allow international organisations, particularly the Special Rapporteur of the UN on Iran case to enter Ahwaz in order to make investigation on Iranian policies in Ahwaz, particularly the case of 15th April Intifada.
- The Iranian authorities must stop all its policies against Ahwazi citizens, such as force displacement, migration, poverty, unemployment and death penalty, torture and arbitrary arrests.
- The international community and international human rights organisations should conduct international investigations into the massacre of protesters in Ahwaz, the mass executions, indiscriminate arrests and the policy of ethnic cleansing committed by the Iranian regime against Ahwazi citizens in 2005.