Stop the persecution of Kurdish journalists and activists in Iran : Khosro Kordpour and Qasem Ehmedi

Kurdish Human Rights Advocacy Group

Open Letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations – H.E. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General, United Nations

First Avenue and East 44th Street, New York, New York, U.S.A.

Mr. Secretary-General:

The Kurdish Human Rights Advocacy Group expresses its grave concern and outrage at continued detentions and imprisonments of  Kurdish activists and journalists, including the well-known human rights activists and journalists Khosro Kordpour, the head of Mokrian News Agency, and Qasem Ehmedi,  the editor of Rojev Journal. According to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, the security forces have made multiple arrests in Mahabad. Intelligence agencies have also arrested a number of labor rights activists in Sanandaj. Charged with unfounded accusations such as partaking in “anti-regime media networks” or “serving as agents of foreign powers”, the detainees are being held incommunicado with no access to their families and lawyers.

As highlighted in the latest report by the U.N Special Rapporteur, Dr.Ahmed Shaheed, the violations of human rights in Iran have been increasing against civil rights, ethnic, religious, linguistic, and gendered minorities. The new wave of arrests appears to have been targeting cultural activists and journalists.  Although no critic or dissent is spared under the theocratic regime, ethnic minority advocates and community members are subjected to the harshest repression, showing the depth of the Islamic Republic’s intolerance and contempt for such groups. Kurds and other minorities, as illustrated in the report, suffer even more severe forms of cultural and religious repressions. Unrecognized religious minorities within the minority group suffer from even more discrimination and coercion. As pointed out in Dr.Shaheed’s comprehensive report, the spiritual leader of Yarsan – an ancient Kurdish religious practice – Mr.Seyyed Nasradin Heydari, has been put under house arrest.

Although the Islamic Republic of Iran appears to be impervious to criticisms of the outside world, it is imperative that the U.N Secretary General continue to condemn and express his alarm at the suppression of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Iran. In the spirit of upholding the United Nations Charter to which the Islamic Republic is paradoxically a signatory, we call upon you to use your collective power to exert pressure on the Islamic Republic of Iran to release the imprisoned Kurdish journalists and activists immediately and unconditionally.

Dr.Amir Sharifi – Kurdish Human Rights Advocacy Group

CC:  Ahmad Shaheed, Iran Special Rapporteur, U.N High Commissioner for Human Rights, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch, Reporter without Borders