Gulf European Centre for Human Rights
Iranian security forces arrest cultural activists during Iranian new year
22nd March 2019
The reliable sources in Ahwaz informed the Gulf European Centre for Human Rights that the Iranian security services have launched a campaign of mass arrests against human rights and cultural activists in Ahwaz since the beginning of the new year in Iran.
Ahwazi human rights sources confirmed that the Iranian intelligence services arrested members of the ‘Nasr Cultural Institution’ in Ahwaz on Wednesday 20 March 2019 after security forces raided the house of the members of the institution in Al-Thawra (Alawi) and Al-Zuhour (Golestan) district in Al-Ahwaz capital.
The Iranian security services arrested Mr Hassan Sari (Sobhipour), films and photograph director at the institution, and Mr Hussein Eshghian (Saki), makeup artist from the ‘Nasr Cultural Institution’ in Ahwaz on Wednesday, 20 March 2019. The security services also arrested a number of other cultural activists on 17 March 2019. It is worth mentioning that the activists are not released and the reasons for the arrest are unclear.
Mr. Sari has recently created an artistic clip in the presence of a large number of Ahwazi artists of men, women and children in Arab uniforms about national unity. The clip has been widely welcomed by Ahwazi people as it has spread throughout all social media. Therefore, the security services arrested members of the ‘Nasr Cultural Institution” days after the clip spread, although they have a formal license for their activity.
The Gulf European Centre for Human Rights strongly condemns the arbitrary arrests of Ahwazi citizens, especially activists, specifically members of the Al-Nasr Cultural Institution by the Iranian security forces and calls for the immediate release of all Ahwaz detainees, especially the members of Nasr institution, unconditionally. GECHR also calls upon international human rights organisations and human rights defenders to denounce arbitrary arrests against Ahwazi activists; and increase pressure on the Iranian authorities to stop the arbitrary arrests of activists in Ahwaz and stop interfering in the cultural activity of Ahwazi.
- Iran is among of the 48 countries that voted in favour of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including freedom of cultural activities, so the Iranian authorities must stop all arbitrary arrests of activists.
- Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world. Hence, the arrest of Al-Nasr members is a violation of universal declaration of human rights, in which said: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
- International legal instruments enable States to protect all forms of culture more effectively. UNESCO elaborates legal instruments in the form of declarations, recommendations and conventions, which are adopted by UNESCO's Member States. Thus, Iran is a member of the UNESCO, so arresting cultural activists is a violation of UNESCO’s laws for the protection of cultural activity.
- Iran ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights since a few years. Therefore, arrest and deprived Ahwazi of cultural activities is a violation of international law and human rights.
- The Iranian authorities should release all detainees, especially human rights, political and cultural activists. The Iranian authorities must allow the Ahwazi activists to continue their cultural and legal activities without restrictions and pressure. Hence, the Iranian authorities must release the member of the ‘al-Nasr Cultural Institution’ as soon as possible without any conditions.