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04.19.11

Nobel Laureate's U.N. Letter Warns of Ethnic Unrest in Iran

Shirin Ebadi asks the U.N.'s top rights official to aid Sunni minorities being killed and arrested in Iran's Khuzestan province, saying their repression by the government could trigger more violence in the country.

Shirin Ebadi asks the U.N.’s top rights official to aid Sunni minorities being killed and arrested in Iran’s Khuzestan province, saying their repression by the government could trigger more violence in the country. Plus, Babak Dehghanpisheh reports on Ebadi’s warning.

April 18, 2011

Ms. Navanethem Pillay
High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations

On April 16, 2011, a group of Sunni, Arabic speaking Iranians, of the province of Khuzestan, City of Ahvaz, located in the south of Iran, protested their unagreeable plight through peaceful demonstrations. Unfortunately, they were suppressed violently by the government. Pursuant to the violent attack, sporadic conflicts have also been detected.

During such conflict more than 12 persons were killed, more than 20 were injured and tens were apprehended. Families and friends of the deceased have been silenced with the threat of the governmental authorities. Those who conducted interviews with the Arab language press have also been arrested.

With regard to the geographical importance of the province of Khuzestan and the fact that the Arab speaking Iranians of this region, have suffered extensive discrimination and lived under inappropriate conditions during the last thirty-two years in the Islamic Republic of Iran, there is the probability of expansive conflicts in the future.

“More than 12 persons were killed, more than 20 were injured and tens were apprehended. Families and friends of the deceased have been silenced.”

At your discretion, please take any and all measures to request the unconditional release of those who have been illegally arrested during the recent Khuzestan conflicts. Also, please provide this report to the Special Rapporteur to be designated for the Islamic Republic of Iran and let it be reflected in the file on Violations of Human Rights of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Shirin Ebadi
Human Rights Defender and
Winner of the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize

CC: His Excellency, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations
Working Group of the United Nations on Arbitrary Detentions
Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief