PDKI General Secretary Mustafa Hijri’s letter to the United Nations Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-moon

27. August 2012  – His Excellency Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations,

Dear Secretary General,

We were informed of your Excellency’s intention to participate in the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Tehran and according to your Excellency’s spokesperson your aim to discuss the gross human rights violations in Iran in your talks.

In our opinion, international pressure on Iran, especially in regards to the unparalleled human rights violations at a time when all eyes are on the country’s nuclear program is extremely urgent and important.

 First of all, the international community needs to have a deeper assessment of various aspects of human rights violations in Iran. It is worth mentioning that due to Iranian regime’s utter crackdown on individuals and entities defending human rights and the isolation of Iranian society by the regime, unearthing all the instances of human rights violation especially in the areas away from the centre of the country is impossible.

Accordingly, we deem necessary to point out a few areas of concern to us in Kurdistan based on our field of activities in the area.  It is well expected from the honorable Secretary General of the United Nations to take a meticulous and warranted notice of the human rights violations in Kurdistan considering its deteriorating and further systemization nature.

From our perspective, the urgency of this matter emanates from the fact that not only individuals life and being is in jeopardy, but also collective and cultural livelihood in Kurdistan is also under grave threat in a very systematic and serious manner; therefore, taking into consideration the shared values of the international community expressed in the United Nations Charter, it is imperative that international entities and dignitaries take a stance and exercise influence.

Thus, we expect your Excellency to consider in your assignment the points below and caution the concerned Iranian officials:

-Absolute prohibition of Kurdish language usage in education and public space:  Any correspondence in the Kurdish language will not be responded to and Kurdish children are forced to study in Persian at as early as six years old.

-Systemic efforts to change the identity of Iranian Kurdish cities and landmarks utilizing media resources and state education system in the cities of Kirmanshah and Ilam in particular; furthermore, the repression of any cultural activity directed towards the advancement of Kurdish culture.

-Denial of permits to any entity that focuses on the Kurdish issues.  So far, numerous groups have been formed and have requested permits from the government but they have been denied permits of operation.

-Unconditional impediment for the application of local Kurdish names.  Iran’s Civil Registrar Office refuses names that manifest Kurdish culture and identity resulting in double identities where one’s common name being different than the one on her/his official identity card.

-There are hundreds of Kurds in Iranian prisons alleged of political activities of, for example, ties with Kurdish political organizations without any basic rights, including the right to furlough.  They have been imprisoned for many years and no human rights organization is aware of their whereabouts.  Regime intimidates the family of the prisoners to avert any publicization of their names.  It is also worth mentioning that almost all of these prisoners are enduring long-term prison sentences without any due process of law and access to defense lawyers and are convicted in court sessions lasting only a few short minutes. We expect your Excellency to appeal to those in power in Iran to reveal the names of such prisoners under the scrutiny of the UN and grant them the opportunity of furlough, fair trails and other accorded rights.  Zeinab Jalalian and Ali Moradi, among many others, are two of those political prisoners who spend their long-term prison sentences under appalling conditions.

 -Mohammad Sedigh Kaboudvand is sentenced to an eleven-year prison term only convicted of founding and operating in the Kurdistan Human Rights Organization.  He has been in jail since 2007 without any furlough rights or any other basic accorded rights of prisoners.

-At least 28 prisoners who are facing political and security charges are in Sanandaj, Orumieh, Semnan, Rajaie Shahr and Saghiz prisons awaiting execution or court orders for uphold/revoke in upper courts. Among those prisoners, Habibollah Latifi, Shirko Moarefi, Zanyar Moradi and Loghman Moradi have not been tried in any fair court proceedings and have spent long periods under despicable acts of torture.

These are only a few instances that require urgent attention and if the international community, international organizations and individuals and your Excellency do not come forward in your assignment to the rescue of the Kurds in Iranian Kurdistan, certainly, a tragedy that is currently underway will be much more sweeping.

With many thanks for your Excellency’s attention, it needs to be pointed out that the people of Iran and the Kurds of Iran in particular who are severely deprived and restricted in echoing their voices to the international community are following your positions, agenda and visit to Iran anxiously, sensitively and attentively.

Mustafa Hijri – General Secretary – Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan