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Amnesty International: LAND CONFISCATION AND POPULATION TRANSFER

الثلاثاء, 14 شباط/فبراير 2017 23:59
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amnesty international

LAND CONFISCATION AND POPULATION TRANSFER  -  APPEAL CASE

IRAN: THE CASE OF THE AHWAZI ARABS

17May2006                                                                 AI INDEX: MDE13/060/2006      

Much of the Arab minority in Iran lives in the strategically-important oil-producing Khuzestan province in southern Iran (known as Ahwaz by the Arab community) which adjoins Iraq and this Arab minority is believed to constitute between 3 and 8 per cent of the total population of Iran. Historically, the Arab community has been marginalized and discriminated against in various ways including through restrictions on access to employment, to adequate housing, social services, and education, and denials of their right to equal participation in cultural activities.

Expropriation of land belonging to or occupied by members of the Arab minority is reportedly so widespread that it appears to amount to an unofficial policy aimed at dispossessing Arabs of their lands. This is linked to measures such as  zero interest loans for land, not available to Arabs, which encourage or facilitate the relocation of non- Arabs toKhuzestan.

According to an open letter, dated 26 April 2005, addressed to former President Khatami by Jasem Shadidzadeh, a former member of the Majles (Iran’s parliament) for Khuzestan province who was banned from standing in the 2004 elections, alleged that more than 120,000 hectares of Arab lands had been confiscated for use in the government’s “Sugar Cane Development Plan”, established in the 1990s. In addition, around 47,000 hectares of Arab farmland in the Jofir region has reportedly been confiscated under the Isargaran Agricultural Development Plan and  given to non-Arabs, including the families of members of the security forces. The Shilat Corporation (a state-owned fisheries company)  has reportedly received a further 25,000 hectares, and 6,000 hectares were reportedly confiscated under directives from the Ministry of Agriculture and the Revolutionary Guard Corps in order to resettle non-Arab veterans of the Iran-Iraq war. Much or all of this land has reportedly been expropriated without consultation or adequate compensation and as such amounts to forced eviction  which  is  prohibited  under   international

human rights law.

Many of those displaced have ended up in overcrowded shanty towns in Ahvaz city, without adequate access to sanitation or clean  water.  Over 15,000 other Arabs reportedly dispossessed from their farmlands by the military during the Iran- Iraq war have been resettled in an area known as “Martyr Beheshti” near Mashhad in the north- eastern province of Khorrassan and have not been able to return since. However, in September 2004, the government began a large project to resettle Iranians  from  other provinces into   Khuzestan province.     New   towns   established under this scheme include the Ramin-2 Township to the  south and Shirinshah to the north of Ahvaz city which are planned to take 550,000 settlers  between them.   These schemes are not available

to the local Arab population, nor are the zero or low-interest loans which are offered to non-Arab Iranians as an incentive to move there.

An official announcement believed to date from January 2006 by the Iranian authorities states: "The new company that oversees the new city of Ramin (outside Ahwaz) in accordance with the article 2 of the law cited below, and other laws pertaining to the purchase and confiscation of lands for building cities and other military and civilian developments, (Law No. 1358/11/117), … is  planning to expand the  first phase  of the  new

city of Ramin, and needs to take over and possess parts of the area of Sanicheh and Jali’ah, Plot Nos. 29 and 42 of Zone 5 of Ahwaz, in accordance with the attached layout [pictured].

"Therefore, this announcement will be published only twice in one month, to inform the owners of the said properties, who must respond within 15 days from the publication of this announcement, with their ownership documents, to this location,  for the submittal (relinquishment) of their  properties to us. Attend the office of this company located in Kianpars corner of Sixth Street West, 2nd                                                     floor.

"If owners do not visit the office, the expropriation and confiscation will continue to take place according to the law."

In an interview following his visit to Iran in July 2005, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing highlighted his concern  over the effects of these large development projects, which were leading to “the displacement of entire villages - with thousands of people not consulted on the projects, informed of the impending displacement, nor offered adequate resettlement and compensation”. He also questioned the government’s policy of bringing in people from other provinces and asked why the jobs and houses allocated for them could not be allocated  to the localpopulation.

In October 2005, a letter came to light, dated 9 July 2005, in which the Arvand Free Trade Zone Organization outlined plans for the confiscation of

155 km², including Arab land and villages, to provide for the establishment of the Arvand Free Trade Zone between Abadan and the Iraqi border. All those living within this area will have their land confiscated. Thousands of Arabs living on this  land will beaffected.

As illustrated by the case of the Ramin-2 township referred to above, under Iranian law, no challenge can be made to such confiscations, only to the amount of compensation offered, which in some schemes is reported to have been as little as one fortieth of the market value.

In January 2006 Naser Kermani, the director of Iran’s Customs Service, reportedly told the Khuzestani newspaper Hamsayeha (which has subsequently been closed down by the authorities) that the Arvand Free Trade Zone could be physically separated from the rest of Iran in order to prevent people and goods from entering the area, and announced that a bill had been submitted to the Majles to this effect.

Background

Tension has mounted among the Arab population since April 2005, when scores of Iranian  Arabs were killed, hundreds were injured and hundreds more   detained          during                                  and      following demonstrations.                       The    demonstrations   were undertaken in protest at a letter  which  came  to light allegedly written in 1999 by a presidential adviser, who denied its authenticity. This appeared to set out policies for the reduction of the Arab population of Khuzestan, including resettling Arabs in other regions of Iran, resettling non-Arabs in the province, and replacing Arabic place names with Persian ones. The text, with an English translation, can                    be                                                         found      at http://www.ahwaz.org.uk/images/ahwaz-khuzestan.pdf; The reputed author’s denial that he wrote the letter, along with an explanation of the contents, can be found                                   (in                                              Persian)              at http://www.webneveshteha.com/.

The security forces appear to have used  excessive force in stopping the demonstration resulting in unlawful killings, including possible extra-judicial executions. Following the unrest, 180 members of the Majles (Iran’s Parliament) wrote to the then President, Mohammad Khatami, urging the release of detainees who were found not to have committed any crime and criticizing officials who had not taken sufficient measures to address the socio-political problems of Khuzestan. They also called for civil rights to berespected.

Since then, the cycle of violence has intensified in the province. Scores of Arabs were arrested following four pre-election bomb blasts in Ahvaz and two others in Tehran which killed up to 10 and injured at least 90 people. Other bombs in October 2005 and January 2006 killed at least 12 people and were followed by waves of arrests. Arrests have also followed demonstrations on significant occasions such as the Muslim festivals of ‘Id al-Fitr and ‘Id al-Adha. Amnesty International has received the names of around 500 Iranian Arabs detained since April 2005, some repeatedly, although the true number of detainees is likely to be much higher. Two men, Mehdi Nawaseri and  Ali Awdeh Afrawi, were executed in public on 2 March 2006 after they were convicted of involvement in the October bombings. Their executions followed unfair trials before a Revolutionary Court during which they are believed to have been denied access to lawyers, and their “confessions” were broadcast on television. Others are also feared to be at risk of execution.

Amnesty International recognizes that there have been acts of violence in Khuzestan province which

have led to injuries and deaths among the civilian population and it recognizes that the Iranian government has a responsibility to bring to justice those who commit crimes; when doing so, however, the Iranian authorities must abide by relevant international human rights law and standards.

International Standards

Iran is a state party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), as well as to the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), which require the immediate prohibition, and steps towards the elimination, of discrimination based on race, in the realization of economic, social and cultural rights.

Forced eviction, that is the “permanent or temporary removal against their will of individuals, families and/or communities from the  homes and/or land which they occupy, without the provision of, and access to, appropriate forms of legal or other protection” has been declared a gross violation of a range of human rights, including the right to adequate housing by the UN Commission on Human Rights (resolution 1993/77). The Committee on Economic, Social  and Cultural Rights has stated in relation to Article 11(1) of the ICESCR, which provides the right to adequate housing, that forced evictions from a place of habitual residence without consultation, due process or assurance of adequate alternative accommodation areprohibited.

RECOMMENDED ACTION

Please send faxes/ e-mail letters in Persian, Arabic, English or French:

-    calling on the Iranian authorities to cease any practice of forced evictions: that is evicting people from land or housing without consultation, due process of law, and assurances of adequate alternative accommodation. Any evictions or land expropriation must be in conformity with internationallaw;

-   calling on the Iranian authorities to immediately end any policy with the purpose or effect of coercing members of Arab or other minorities to become internallydisplaced;

-       reminding the Iranian authorities of their obligations under the ICESCR and the ICERD to respect and protect the housing rights of the whole population, including persons belonging to minorities, and to prohibit and take steps towards the elimination of discrimination against minorities, and the achievement of equality in the realization of humanrights.

PLEASE SEND YOUR APPEALS TO:

Leader of the Islamic Republic

His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei, The Office of the Supreme Leader

Shoahada Street, Qom, Islamic Republic of Iran

Email:        عنوان البريد الإلكتروني هذا محمي من روبوتات السبام. يجب عليك تفعيل الجافاسكربت لرؤيته. //

Amnesty International:URGENT ACTION SEIT 2009 "VERSCHWUNDEN"

الثلاثاء, 14 شباط/فبراير 2017 23:41

Yousef Silavi, Angehöriger der arabischen Minderheit der Ahwazi im Iran, ist seit November 2009 "verschwunden". Die iranischen Behörden haben bisher keine Informationen zu seinem Schicksal und seinem Aufenthaltsort bekanntgegeben. Amnesty International befürchtet, dass er Opfer des Verschwindenlassens geworden sein könnte und in Gefahr ist, gefoltert, anderweitig misshandelt oder außergerichtlich hingerichtet zu werden.

Amnesty International hat kürzlich erfahren, dass Yousef Silavi, ein pensionierter Techniker und Angehöriger der arabischen Minderheit der Ahwazi im Iran, seit Ende 2009 vermisst wird. Zuletzt wurde er um den 6. November 2009 von einem Freund der Familie in seinem Zuhause in der Stadt Ahvaz in der Provinz Chuzestan gesehen. Die Ehefrau von Yousef Silavi befand sich zu diesem Zeitpunkt außer Landes, da sie ihre zwei gemeinsamen Töchter besuchte, die an der Universität von Damaskus in Syrien studierten. Als sie am 8. November 2009 zurückkehrte, meldete sie ihren Mann bei der Polizei als vermisst.

Die Polizei legte den Fall innerhalb von sechs Monaten ohne eine angemessene Untersuchung zu den Akten. Die Behörden bestreiten weiterhin, Yousef Silavi festgenommen zu haben. Seine Familienangehörigen glauben jedoch, dass er sich in ihrem Gewahrsam befindet, da ihnen seit seinem "Verschwinden" Restriktionen auferlegt wurden und sie Drohungen erhalten haben. Zusätzlich weisen auch inoffizielle Aussagen von Beamt_innen darauf hin, dass Yousef Silavi inhaftiert wurde.

Einige Tage nach seinem "Verschwinden" wurde ein Freund, der die Familie von Yousef Silavi von dessen "Verschwinden" in Kenntnis gesetzt hatte, eine Nacht lang von Beamt_innen des Geheimdienstministeriums in Gewahrsam genommen und zu Yousef Silavi vernommen. Offenbar schlugen und bedrohten ihn die Beamt_innen und sagten, sein Leben sei in Gefahr, wenn er über die Vorfälle spräche. Eine weitere der Familie nahestehende Person wurde ebenfalls bedroht. Ein Beamter der Revolutionsgarde sagte ihr, dass sie ebenso wie er festgenommen werden würde, wenn sie die Suche nach Informationen über Yousef Silavi nicht aufgebe. Der Ehefrau von Yousef Silavi sagte ein Angehöriger der Revolutionsgarde, dass sie ihren Ehemann nur dann wiedersehen würde, wenn sie ihre Töchter in den Iran zurückhole. Laut dem Beamten sollen ihre Töchter in Damaskus mit iranischen Oppositionsgruppen in Kontakt gestanden haben. Der Ehefrau von Yousef Silavi wurden strikte Reisebeschränkungen auferlegt.

Yousef Silavi engagierte sich nicht politisch. Seine Frau entstammt jedoch einer prominenten politisch engagierten arabischen Familie. Zudem war Yousef Silavis 2008 verstorbener Cousin und Schwager, Mansour Silavi, eine bekannte Persönlichkeit in der Gemeinschaft, da er sich für eine verstärkte Anerkennung der Rechte der Ahwazi einsetzte. Bevor er den Iran verließ, hatte Mansour Silavi eine Partei namens Demokratische Solidaritätspartei von Ahwaz (Democratic Solidarity Party of Ahwaz) gegründet. Wegen seines politischen Engagements war er von den Behörden überwacht worden.

SCHREIBEN SIE BITTE

FAXE, E-MAILS ODER LUFTPOSTBRIEFE MIT FOLGENDEN FORDERUNGEN

Ich bitte Sie eindringlich, Maßnahmen zur Klärung des Schicksals und des Aufenthaltsortes von Yousef Silavi zu ergreifen. Sollte Yousef Silavi sich in Gewahrsam befinden, fordere ich Sie höflich auf, ihn freizulassen, wenn er nicht umgehend einer international anerkannten Strafttat angeklagt wird. Bitte gewähren Sie ihm Zugang zu seinen Familienangehörigen, seinem Rechtsbeistand und medizinischer Versorgung und lassen Sie ihm ein Gerichtsverfahren zuteil werden, das internationalen Standards für faire Gerichtsverfahren genügt. Bitte ratifizieren Sie umgehend und ohne Vorbehalt das Übereinkommen zum Schutz aller Personen vor dem Verschwindenlassen und die entsprechenden Zusatzprotokolle. APPELLE AN

(bitte senden Sie Ihre Appelle über die Botschaft)RELIGIONSFÜHRERAyatollah Sayed 'Ali Khamenei(Anrede: Your Excellency / Exzellenz)überBOTSCHAFT DER ISLAMISCHEN REPUBLIK IRANS. E. Herrn Ali MajediPodbielskiallee 65-67, 14195 BerlinFax: 030-8435 3535E-Mail: عنوان البريد الإلكتروني هذا محمي من روبوتات السبام. يجب عليك تفعيل الجافاسكربت لرؤيته. //

OBERSTE JUSTIZAUTORITÄTAyatollah Sadegh Larijani(Anrede: Your Excellency / Exzellenz)überBOTSCHAFT DER ISLAMISCHEN REPUBLIK IRANS. E. Herrn Ali MajediPodbielskiallee 65-67,14195 BerlinFax: 030-8435 3535E-Mail: عنوان البريد الإلكتروني هذا محمي من روبوتات السبام. يجب عليك تفعيل الجافاسكربت لرؤيته. //

KOPIEN ANPRÄSIDENTHassan RouhaniüberBOTSCHAFT DER ISLAMISCHEN REPUBLIK IRANS. E. Herrn Ali MajediPodbielskiallee 65-6714195 BerlinFax: 030-8435 3535E-Mail: عنوان البريد الإلكتروني هذا محمي من روبوتات السبام. يجب عليك تفعيل الجافاسكربت لرؤيته. //

Bitte schreiben Sie Ihre Appelle möglichst sofort. Schreiben Sie in gutem Persisch, Arabisch, Englisch, Französisch, Spanisch oder auf Deutsch. Da Informationen in Urgent Actions schnell an Aktualität verlieren können, bitten wir Sie, nach dem 7. Juni 2016 keine Appelle mehr zu verschicken.

HINTERGRUNDINFORMATIONEN

Die älteste Tochter von Yousef Silavi, Mona Silavi, hatte die Gemeinschaft geflüchteter Angehöriger der arabischen Ahwazi unterstützt, als sie in Syrien lebte. Sie wurde mehrmals von Beamt_innen der iranischen Botschaft in Damaskus zu Vernehmungen vorgeladen. Als Yousef Silavi seine Töchter im Oktober 2009 in Damaskus besuchte, wurden er und Mona Silavi aufgefordert, zu einer Vernehmung durch Botschaftsmitarbeiter_innen zu erscheinen, bevor er später im selben Monat in den Iran zurückkehrte. Die Ehefrau von Yousef Silavi besuchte ihre beiden gemeinsamen Töchter in Syrien, als die Familie darüber in Kenntnis gesetzt wurde, dass seit einigen Tagen niemand etwas von ihm gehört hatte. Seit seinem "Verschwinden" hat sie auf der Suche nach ihrem Mann Kranken- und Leichenhäuser in Ahwaz besucht. Sie hat Briefe an den iranischen Religionsführer Ayatollah Sayed 'Ali Khamenei und ein Parlamentsmitglied aus Ahwaz geschrieben sowie verschiedene Justiz- und Sicherheitsbehörden um Hilfe gebeten. Die Bemühungen der Familienangehörigen von Yousef Silavi, von den Behörden Informationen über seinen Verbleib zu erhalten, werden bislang ignoriert. Die Behörden haben seinen Töchtern widersprüchliche Botschaften vermittelt und ihnen unter anderem gesagt, ihr Vater sei möglicherweise verheiratet und kehre nicht zurück, habe vielleicht sein Gedächtnis verloren, oder sei aufgrund von Angelegenheiten der Ahwazi verschwunden. Der Frau von Yousef Silavi sind Einschränkungen ihrer Bewegungsfreiheit auferlegt worden: Die Behörden teilten ihr mit, dass sie den Iran nur einmal im Jahr verlassen darf und selbst dann sind ihr nur Reisen in wenige Länder erlaubt.

Die Gemeinschaft der arabischen Ahwazi in der Provinz Chuzestan beklagt seit langem ihre systematische Diskriminierung durch die Regierung, insbesondere im Bezug auf Beschäftigung, Unterkünfte und Zugang zu politischen Ämtern sowie hinsichtlich der Ausübung kultureller, bürgerlicher und politischer Rechte. Auch das Verbot ihrer Muttersprache als Unterrichtssprache im Grundschulwesen hat zu erheblichen Ressentiments und Frustrationen geführt. Amnesty International hat zahlreiche Fälle von Festnahmen und Inhaftierungen politisch engagierter Angehöriger der Gemeinschaft der arabischen Ahwazi oder ihrer Familienangehörigen durch die Sicherheitsbehörden dokumentiert. In vielen Fällen werden sie ohne Kontakt zur Außenwelt und in Einzelhaft in geheimen Hafteinrichtungen festgehalten. Sie werden somit Opfer des Verschwindenlassens und sind einem erhöhten Risiko ausgesetzt, gefoltert oder anderweitig misshandelt zu werden. Der UN-Sonderberichterstatter über die Menschenrechtslage im Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, hat im Rahmen seiner Berichte über die Festnahme, Inhaftierung und strafrechtliche Verfolgung von Ahwazi-Araber_innen aufgrund von geschützten Aktivitäten zur Förderung sozialer, wirtschaftlicher, kultureller, sprachlicher und ökologischer Rechte ebenfalls seine Besorgnis ausgedrückt. In seinem Bericht aus dem Oktober 2013 stellte der Sonderberichterstatter fest, dass Ahwazi-Araber_innen während Vernehmungen psychisch und physisch gefoltert worden seien, unter anderem durch Auspeitschen und Schläge. Zudem wurden vor ihren Augen Hinrichtungen durchgeführt. Sie erhielten Drohungen gegen Familienangehörige und in einigen Fällen wurden Familienangehörige tatsächlich festgenommen, um andere Personen strafrechtlich zu belasten oder dazu zu bringen, sich bei den Behörden zu melden. Eine Person berichtete dem UN-Sonderberichterstatter, dass ein Cousin, ein Neffe und ein Bruder im Juni 2012 festgenommen wurden, um die im Ausland lebenden Kinder zur Rückkehr in das Land zu zwingen.

Das Völkerrecht enthält ein ausnahmsloses Verbot des Verschwindenlassens und legt fest, dass keinerlei außergewöhnliche Umstände als Rechtfertigung angeführt werden dürfen. Obwohl das Wort "Verschwinden" eine harmlose und nicht gewalttätige Handlung bezeichnen könnte, ist das Verschwindenlassen in Wirklichkeit eine besonders grausame und gewaltsame Menschenrechtsverletzung. Dabei werden Personen von der Außenwelt abgeschnitten und sind sich bewusst, dass die ihnen nahestehenden Personen nicht wissen, wo sie sich befinden oder ob sie noch am Leben sind. Sie werden dem Schutz des Gesetzes entzogen und das Recht auf einen Rechtsbeistand und ein faires Gerichtsverfahren wird ihnen verwehrt. Organe, die durch internationale Menschenrechtsverträge einberufen wurden, Gerichtshöfe für Menschenrechte und andere Menschenrechtsgremien haben wiederholt festgestellt, dass das Verschwindenlassen auch das Recht auf Freiheit und Sicherheit einer Person, das Recht auf Freiheit von Folter und anderweitiger Misshandlung, das Recht auf einen Rechtsbehelf und das Recht auf Leben verletzt. Das Verschwindenlassen ist eine andauernde Straftat, die so lange fortbesteht, wie die Person "verschwunden" ist und wie ihr Schicksal und ihr Aufenthaltsort vom Staat nicht bekanntgegeben werden. Das Verschwindenlassen hat auch tiefgreifende Auswirkungen auf die Familienangehörigen und Freund_innen der Opfer, die manchmal jahrelang bangen und warten müssen, bevor sie herausfinden, ob die ihnen nahestehende Person noch am Leben ist.

PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY

Calling on the Iranian authorities to take steps to establish Yousef Silavi's whereabouts and fate. Urging them, if he is in custody, to released him unless he is promptly charged with a recognizable criminal offence, given immediate access to his family, lawyer and doctor, and tried in proceedings that adhere to international standards for fair trial. Urging them to ratify promptly and without reservation the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances and its Optional Protocols. Zurück    

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH- Ahwaz- Iran

الثلاثاء, 14 شباط/فبراير 2017 23:33

JANUARY2017                                                                                                                                  COUNTRYSUMMARY

 

Iran

Despite three years in his office, President Hassan Rouhani has not delivered on his campaign promise of greater respect for civil and political rights. Executions, especially for drug-related offenses, continued at a high rate. As Rouhani faces elections for a second term in May 2017, the hardline factions that dominate the security apparatus and judiciary continued to crackdown on citizens for the legitimate exercise of their rights, in blatant disregard of international and domestic legal standards. Iranian dual nationals and    citizens returning from abroad were at particular risk of arrest by intelligence authorities, accused of being “Westernagents.”

Executions, Freedom from Torture, and Inhuman Treatment

Despite an initial slowdown in executions in the first months of 2016, authorities had executed at least 203 individuals by October 25. Human rights groups, however, report that the number might be as high as 437, with most executions taking place in the second half of the year. According to government authorities, individuals convicted of drug charges constitute the majority of those executed in the country.

Under Iranian law, many nonviolent crimes, such as “insulting the Prophet,” apostasy, same-sex relations, adultery, and drug-related offenses, are punishable by death. In December 2015, members of Parliament introduced a bill to eliminate the death penalty for drug offences that do not involve violence. However, the initiative, while welcomed by several authorities, has not moved forward.

On August 2, authorities announced that they had executed at least 20 alleged members   of a group Iran considers a terrorist organization on charges of moharebeh, or “enmity against God.” Rights groups believe that these individuals were among a group of 33 Sunni Kurdish men arrested in 2009 and 2010, and sentenced to death in unfair trials after enduring abuses and torture in detention. In August, authorities in Khuzestan province executed three Arab citizens on alleged terrorismcharges.

New amendments to Iran’s penal code allow judges to use their discretion not to sentence children to death. However, Iran continued to execute children in 2016. On July 18, Amnesty International reported that authorities had hanged Hassan Afshar, who was arrested when he was 17 years old and convicted of “forced male to male anal intercourse” (lavat-e be onf). At least 49 inmates on death row were convicted of crimes committed when they were under 18 years old.

In March, the United Nations Children’s Rights Committee noted that flogging was still a lawful punishment for boys and girls convicted of certain crimes. The committee noted reports that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) children had been subjected to electric shocks to “cure” them.

On May 25, Iranian media reported that authorities had flogged 17 miners in Western Azarbaijanprovinceaftertheiremployersuedthemforprotestingthefiringoffellowworkers.

Fair Trials and Treatment of Prisoners

Iranian courts, and particularly the revolutionary courts, regularly fell short of providing fair trials and allegedly used confessions obtained under torture as evidence in court. Iranian law restricts the right for a defendant to access a lawyer, particularly during the investigation period.

According to Iran’s criminal procedure code, individuals charged with national or international security crimes, political and media crimes, and those charged with crimes that incur capital punishment, life imprisonment, or retributive punishment (qisas), can be denied legal counsel under detention for up to a week. Moreover, they have to select their counsel from a pool of preapproved lawyers determined by the head of the judiciary.

Several political prisoners and individuals charged with national security crimes suffered from a lack of adequate access to medical care under detention. In April, Omid Kokabee, a young physicist who was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2012, underwent surgery to remove his right kidney due to complications from cancer after authorities unduly delayed his access to appropriate medical treatment.

Freedom of Expression and Information

Space for free speech and dissent remained highly restricted, and authorities continued to arrest and charge journalists, bloggers, and online media activists for exercising their right to freedom of expression.

In April, a revolutionary court sentenced journalists Afarin Chitsaz, Ehsan Mazandarani, and Saman Safarzaei to terms of ten, seven, and five years, respectively, and Davoud Assadi, the brother of Houshang Assadi, a journalist who lives in France, to five years. Mazandarani’s and Chitsaz’s sentences were reduced to two and five years, respectively, by the appeals court. The intelligence branch of the Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) arrested the four individuals, along with journalist Issa Saharkhiz, accusing them of being part of an “infiltration network” colluding with foreignmedia.

In June, the country began implementing a political crime law which, while a step forward in granting fair trials, could still limit free speech. According to the law, insulting or defaming public officials, when “committed to achieve reforms and not intended to target the system, are considered political crimes.” However, political prisoners have to be detained separately from ordinary criminals and have to be tried publicly in the presence of a jury unless doing so is deemed detrimental to family disputes, national security, or religious and ethnic sentiment.

Hundreds of websites, including social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, remained blocked in Iran. The intelligence apparatus heavily monitored citizens’ activities on social media. Hundreds of social media users, in particular on the Telegram messaging application and Instagram have been summoned or arrested by the IRGC for commenting on controversial issues, including   fashion.

In the past year, the police and judiciary prevented dozens of musical concerts, particularly those featuring female vocalists and musicians, in different   provinces.

Freedoms of Association, Assembly, and  Voting

In February, millions of Iranians participated in elections for Parliament and the Assembly of Experts. In the lead-up to these elections, the Guardian Council, the body in charge of

vetting candidates, disqualified the majority of candidates associated with the reformist movement based on discriminatory and arbitrary criteria. After the election, in an unprecedented move, the council disqualified Minoo Khaleghi, who had been elected in the city of Isfahan, on allegations of shaking hands with a   man.

Authorities continue to target independent unionists and restrict freedom of assembly and  association.

On February 22, a revolutionary court sentenced Ismail Abdi, secretary general of the Teachers’ Association who has been detained since June 2015, to six years in prison, in part for organizing a teachers’ demonstration in front of the Parliament on May 15.

On July 27, 92 student organizations published a letter to President Rouhani criticizing the persistent “atmosphere of fear and intimidation” in Iran’s universities following the cancelation of student programs or the unlawful interference in the agendas of these programs by non-university authorities. While student and women’s rights activist, Bahareh Hedayat was released from prison after six-and-a-half years in September, Zia Nabavi a prominent student activist remained in prison. Both had been jailed since 2009for their peaceful activism following the presidential election thatyear.

Human Rights Defenders and Political Prisoners

Scores of human rights defenders and political activists such as Abdolfattah Soltani remained in prison for their peaceful activities. In May, a revolutionary court sentenced prominent Iranian human rights activist Narges Mohammadi, who had been detained for a year, to a total of 16 years in prison for charges including “membership in the banned campaign Step by Step to Stop the Death  Penalty.”

In 2010, a revolutionary court sentenced Mohammadi to six years in prison for her rights- related activities, but authorities released her due to a serious medical condition from which she still  suffers.

In May, prominent Kurdish human rights defender Mohammad Sediq Kaboudvand, the former president of the Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan, embarked on a hunger strike in his ninth year of detention to protest new charges that were brought against him.

Prominent opposition figures Mir Hossein Mousavi, Zahra Rahnavard, and Mehdi Karroubi have remained under house arrest without charge or trial since February 2011. Tehran’s prosecutor, who has banned media from publishing the name of Iran’s former president, Mohamad Khatami, also prohibited him from attending several public  gatherings.

Women’s Rights

Iranian women face discrimination in personal status matters related to marriage, divorce, inheritance, and child custody. A woman needs her male guardian’s approval for marriage regardless of her age and cannot pass on her nationality to her foreign-born spouse or their children. Married women may not obtain a passport or travel outside the country without the written permission of theirhusbands.

TheUNChildren’sRightsCommitteereportedinMarchthattheageofmarriageforgirlsis13, that sexual intercourse with girls as young as nine lunar years was not criminalized, and that judges had discretion to release some perpetrators of so-called honor killings without any punishment. Child marriage—though not the norm—continues, as the law allows girls to marryat13andboysatage15,aswellasatyoungeragesifauthorizedbyajudge.

Authorities continue to prevent girls and women from attending certain sporting events, including men’s soccer and volleyball   matches.

On July 31, 2016, President Rouhani suspended the hiring exam for public sector jobs to investigate apparent discrimination against women in the job  market.

Treatment of Minorities

ThegovernmentdeniesfreedomofreligiontoBaha’isanddiscriminatesagainstthem.At least 85 Baha’is were held in Iran’s prisons as of October 2016. Security forces also continued to target Christian converts of Muslim heritage, as well as members of the “housechurch”movementwhogathertoworshipinprivatehomes.

In August, a number of Sunni figures in Kurdish areas were summoned and interrogated after they criticized the executions of at least 20 individuals on August  2.

The government restricted cultural as well as political activities among the country’s Azeri, Kurdish, Arab, and Baluch minorities. However, in August participants in the national entrance examinations for universities in Iran were allowed to choose Kurdish and Turkish languages as their majors at the bachelor level. Last year, the University of Kurdistan reportedly accepted 40 students to study the Kurdish language at the bachelor  level.

Key International Actors

On January 16, Iran and its international partners announced the “implementation day” of the nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and the subsequent lifting of economic and financial sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear activities. Since the agreement, several trade delegations have shuttled between Iran and other countries, particularly in Europe.

The Iranian government continued to provide the Syrian government with military assistance in 2016. Human Rights Watch has documented a pattern of deliberate and indiscriminateattacksonciviliansaswellastorturebytheSyriangovernment.OnAugust 15,mediareportsclaimedthatRussiahadusedanIranianmilitarybaseincityofHamedan foritsairstrikesinSyria.

On April 16, European Union High Representative and Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad

Zarif announced in a joint statement that the EU and Iran intend to cooperate on human rights, migration, and drugs.

On October 25, the EU Parliament adopted the report on EU strategy towards Iran after the nuclear agreement in which it expressed concerns about the alarming rate of executions in Iran and called for the release of all political prisoners.

In September, the United Nations Human Rights Council elected Asma Jahangir as the new special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran. Iran did not allow Jahangir’s predecessor, Ahmed Shaheed, who was appointed in 2011, to visit the country.

تجمع مئات العمال الأحوازيين أمام مبنى الحاكم العسكري في مدينة الأحواز العاصمة يوم أمس الأحد احتجاجا على عدم دفع رواتبهم المتأخرة منذ 4 أشهر من قبل إدارة شركة "كروه ملي" لصناعة الفولاذ.

وقالت مصادر الأحوازية مؤثقة إن أكثر من 400 عامل تجمعوا أمام مبنى الحاكم العسكري في مدينة الأحواز العاصمة وهددوا بإعلان إضراب عن العمل إلى حين تلبية مطالبهم وسط تجاهل من قبل مسؤولي دولة الاحتلال حتى هذه اللحظة.

وأشارت المصادر أن شركة "كروه ملي" لصناعة الفولاذ لم تدفع رواتب ومستحقات نحو 700 عامل وذلك منذ 4 أشهر بحجة أن إدارة الشركة تعاني من أزمة مالية بينما تؤكد التقارير أن الشركة تنتج نحو مليون و360 ألف طن من أنواع المنتجات المرتبطة بالفولاذ.

وفي سياق منفصل استدعت بلدية مدينة تستر شمال الأحواز العاصمة 50 عاملا كانوا قد نظموا اعتصاما في شهر يناير الفائت من العام الجاري وهددتهم بالطرد من العمل فيما إذا استمروا بتنظيم مثل هذه الفعاليات.

وأكدت  تلك مصادر أن مسؤولي بلدية مدينة تستر أجبروا العمال الخمسين التوقيع على إقرار وتعهد يقضي بعدم تنظيم الاعتصامات أو الاحتجاجات.

وفي سياق آخر تجمع نحو 50 عاملا أمام مبنى شركة المياه والصرف الصحي في الأحواز العاصمة يوم 6 فبراير الجاري احتجاجا على عدم دفع مستحقاتهم بعد طردهم من العمل قبل 3 أعوام. وقالت مصادر "أحوازنا" إن العمال المطرودين قد جاؤوا من مدن عبادان، المحمرة، الحويزة والخفاجية.

كما اعتصم نحو 20 عاملا أمام مبنى جامعة جندي سابور في مدينة القنيطرة شمال الأحواز العاصمة يوم 5 فبراير الجاري احتجاجا على قرار طردهم من العمل، مطالبين إدارة الجامعة بالتراجع عن هذا القرار الذي وصفوه بالجائر والمجحف.

شهدت العاصمة النمساوية فيينا مؤتمرأ أحوازيأ مميزأ اقامته منظمة الدفاع عن حقوق الإنسان الأحوازي في يوم الجمعة الموافق لعاشر من فبراير ، حضر فيه عدد من المسؤولين الاممين في الشأن الانساني و عدد من الاساتذة و المراسلين و النشطاء الحقوقيين بالاضافة الى حضور منظمات انسانية عربية و اوروبية.

و تحدث المحاضرون في هذا المؤثمر عن القضايا الانسانية و الجرائم التي ترتكبها السلطات الايرانية في الأحواز  كجرائم الاعدام و الاعتقالات العشوائية بالاضافة الى التغيير الديموغرافي الممنهج التي تمارسها السلطات الايرانية بالاحواز.

و تطرق المحاضرون ايضا الى سياسة التدمير البيئي  الممنهج و التي من خلاله السلطات الايرانية تهجير اكثر من ثلثي من عرب الأحواز الى المحافظات الايرانية الاخرى و ذلك من خلال تجفيف الاهوار و الانهر و نقل المياه و بناء السدود بالاضافة الى اغتصاب الاراضي الزراعية من ممتلكيها العرب .

و تطرق ايضا المحاضرون الى النتائج الكارثية جراء هذه السياسات العدوانية  على المواطنين الاحوازيين و التي تتمثل على ارتفاع عدد المصابيين بامراض الربو و السرطان و العطالة و الجرائم و الامية و الفقر و التي تعتبر وفقأ للقوانين الدولية جريمة ابادة جماعية تحاسب عليها القوانين الدولية و الانسانية. 

و حضر هذا المؤتمر عدد من وسائل الاعلام العربية و الاوروبية.

المنظمة الأحوازية لحقوق الإنسان 

 

أكدت مصادر المنظمة الأحوازي لحقوق الإنسان ان السلطات الايرانية رفضت تخصيص ميزانية لمواجهة التدمير البيئي و اتساع ظاهرة التصحر التي تشهدها الجغرافية الأحوازية منذ مايقارب ثلاثة عقود.

الأحواز و التي تتمتع بثروات النفط و الغاز و الثروات الطبيعية  كالزراعة و المياه الننقية باتت بعد عام 1990 تشهد و بشكل ملحوظ تدمير بيئي ممنهج تمارسه السلطات الايرانية كبناء السدود و مشاريع سياسية كمشروع قصب السكر و مشروع خطة الاحتواء التي كشفت مؤخرا و تضم اكثر من 800,000  هكتار من الاراضي الزراعية استولت عليها السلطات بقوة السلاح من ممتلكيها العرب.

و في ظل هذه السياسات ارتفعت احصائية امراض الربو و امراض السرطان و على رأسها مرض سرطان الدم بشكل فظيع في الأحواز و الذي أدت هذه الامراض الى وفات المئات من المواطنين الأحوازيين بالرغم من التكتم الاعلامي الذي تقوم به السلطات الايرانية لعدم كشف هذه الجرائم.

و تشير الاحصائيات الايرانية الرسمية ان الأحواز تحتل المركز الاول في ايران بارتفاع احصائية المصابين بالامراض السرطانية.

المنظمة الأحوازية لحقوق الإنسان