Date: 13 June 2003
His Excellency Walter Schwimmer
UN Human Rights Commissioner -Geneva
His Excellency Sergio Vieira de Mello
May we refer you to our letter of 221/2002 dated 18/08/2002 in which
we have revealed some hard facts about Southern Azerbaijan -which is
currently part of Islamic Republic of Iran- and its approximately 30
million inhabitants. We are still deprived of our very basic human
right such as education in mother tongue. We, Southern Azerbaijanis,
are continuing our just struggle to revive our rights as a nation by
using democratic means and international conventions. One of the
most important actions of this democratic movement is celebration of
birthday of Babek, our national hero during the first weekend of
July each year. (Thursday 3 and Friday 4th in Iranian calendar) This
peaceful event attracts hundreds of thousands of Southern
Azerbaijanis to Babek castle and hills nearby each year.
As you are aware, in order to prevent people from using their
democratic right to peaceful gathering in a historic castle in
countryside, Iranian regime resorted to repressive measures Last
year. This year is no exception and they have started exerting
enormous pressure on well-known activists by summoning them to court
without any reason. Miss Parisa Babayifar(Also known as Mahni Khanim
Zenjanli) a famous poet and correspondent is one of them. Mr. Abbas
Lesani of Ardebil has been arrested and interrogated by intelligent
officers numerously with no reason given. Also his family was
harassed and his house was searched without a search warrant. Mr.
Parviz YekaniZare, Mr. Masoud Varmazyar (Known as Haray), Mr.
Mahmoud Fazli and Mr. Ebrahim Jafarzade are among those who were
summoned to court. Mr Davoudi Manager of Ziraet Bank in Ardebil was
poisoned to death by regime's Intelligent Officers simply because he
was seen in Babek castle last year. Mr. Ali Suleimani was handed
down 5 years jail on charges of taking part in last year's event.
Iranian law enforcement officers are arresting popular activists and
torturing them into co-operation and denouncing other Azerbaijani
rights activists. Although this has proved to be a fruitless efforts
in previous attempts but they are still trying to employ the old
method of "divide and rule". In order to wipe this day out of our
memories, Iranian regime is applying antidemocratic methods and
using antihuman measures of pressurising intellectuals, writers,
cultural groups and young population of Southern Azerbaijan to
refrain from calling Babek a national hero. Yet the regime is trying
to deceive outside world by proposing dialogue of civilisations
We are grateful that you have raised the question of rights of
Southern Azerbaijanis in your meetings with Iranian government
officials as you have mentioned in your response letter of 23
October 2002. Unfortunately it has had quite the reverse affect and
Iranian regime stepped up pressure on our nation.
You are most certainly aware of our nation's contribution towards
world civilisation. It is a pity that such a civilisation is under
barbaric attack by Persian chauvinism. Illegal policy of forcible
assimilation of our nation is still being perused by this chauvinist
regime. We believe the main obstacles of having a democratic and
secular regime in Iran is the denial of rights of other nations.
History tells us that one can only preserve the current status quo
Her Excellency, Mary Robinsona
We urge you as a representative of civilised world to assist us and
help our nation to restore our rights.
We cry for help from international community to condemn the planned
repression against our nation in Babek castle in coming weeks and
prevent a catastrophe from happening.
World Azerbaijanis' Rights Defence Committee