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April 15, marks the thirteenth anniversary of the Ahwazi uprising that lasted for several weeks in various parts of Ahwaz and around 220 protestors were killed in the Intifada. And about 16,000 Ahwazi citizens were arrested and hundreds of Ahwazi fled outside Iran.

The Ahwazi protested against the Iranian government’s policy of changing the demographics of the region, particularly after a governmental letter was revealed by Mohammad Abtahi, the director of the previous president of Iran Mohammad Khatami’ office at that time.

Ahwazi during the Intifada criticised the Iranian policies to persecute and violate of Ahwazi fundamental rights, and called on the Iranian government to apologise for this policy, which there is no link between this policy and the UN Charter on Human Rights and International Law. However, the Iranian authorities shot at the peaceful demonstrators. About 7 people were killed on the first day of the uprising in the Al-Thawra area in Ahwaz, the capital city, and the city of Hamidiyeh, west of Ahwaz.

According to Ahwazi human rights activists, during the first week of the Intifada, about 150 Ahwazi were killed, and the Intifada continued for several weeks, which resulted in the deaths of 220 citizens of Ahwazi. Human rights activists informed that the number of Ahwazi who were executed and killed under torture does not include the number of people killed in the Intifada.

Since the massacre in Ahwaz in the Ahwazi Intifada in 2005, the people of Al-Ahwaz have been constantly rising against the Iranian authority’s policies for every period of time. For example, the uprising of December 2, 2017, this started from the village of Jalizi and the March uprising in Ahwaz which took more than two weeks. However, the Iranian authorities have not yet investigated the killing of the peaceful demonstrators in April 2005 and the investigation into the source and objectives of the letter that sparked the Intifada in 2005.

Ahwazi activists call for an immediate investigation into the 2005 uprising, which claimed the lives of a large number of peaceful demonstrators. They demand an immediate investigation into Khatami’s office, which demanded the change of Arab demographics in Ahwaz because this act violates international humanitarian law and international human rights law.

Racism, discrimination, persecution, and marginalisation are continuing in Ahwaz. Therefore, the humanitarian situation in Ahwaz now is higher than the year of 2005 during the Intifada.

For example:

  • The Al-Ahwaz environment destroyed 300% more than in 2005
  • The number of unemployed increased 25% more than 2005
  • The number of detainees according to Ahwazi human rights organisations from 2005 to April 2018 exceeded 36 thousand
  • The policy of ethnic cleansing has become aware in Iranian channels
  • The confiscating of lands, the destruction of houses and the destruction of historical monuments has increased significantly compared to 2005.

Thus, the Ahwazi activists demand international community intervention to stop and end the ongoing violations in the Arab land of Ahwaz.

The Iranian authorities not only did not carry out any official investigation into the crimes of 2005 against the demonstrators, but the authorities increased their policy against the Ahwazi, such as increasing the number of arrests and increasing destruction of the land and damaging the ecological system in Ahwaz, which caused a large number of Ahwazi forced to migrate to other areas in order to get the priorities of life like their basic fundamental rights such as jobs and home.

Faisal Fulad, Human rights activist based in London.

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