No.: 336/ 2006
Date: 15 June 2006
Your Excellency, Dear Mr. Annan
Re MAKING A CASE FOR THE RIGHT OF SELF-DETERMINATION OF SOUTHERN AZERBAIJAN / Iran
We have been writing to you to make a case for your recognition of the national and human rights of Southern Azerbaijanis, violated by the Islamic Republic of Iran, currently administering Southern Azerbaijan. You may be aware of such violations, a glimpse of which is the deprivation of the 30 million Southern Azerbaijanis from even the very basic right for education in our mother tongue to the extent that there is not a single classroom teaching in Turkic Azerbaijani. This is disgraceful and not worthy of our times but reminiscent of an apartheid mindset.
Also, we have brought to your kind attention of the first appeal in 1946 by our leader of the popularly elected National government, Seid Jefer Pishevery, to the United Nations. One year after the establishment of our national government, it was overthrown ruthlessly by the Shah’s military intervention, as a result of which some 30,000 people were executed; 10,000 disappeared without a trace; 70,000 were forcefully displaced; and untold numbers were imprisoned. One of these prisoners was Mr. Sefer Qehremani who was imprisoned for 32 years and his spirit for resistance was seen to be in the same class of that of Mr. Nelson Mandela.
Notwithstanding our sufferings over the last half a century, we have managed to revive but are yet to recover from that tragedy. Today and since the collapse of the Soviet Union, we clearly understand the UN charter of the right for self determination and comply with them in directing our democratic struggle. There have been numerous appeals explaining the substance of our struggle based on international laws and conventions, requesting your timely intervention but your response is yet to materialise.
Are Iranian authorities not appeased when they ruthlessly suppress Southern Azerbaijani mass protestors but no one speaks out? As recent as the last week of May 2006, Southern Azerbaijanis rejected in one voice the Persianisation and cultural assimilation policies of the Iranian government but the watchful world media remained silent. It is not meaningful that Southern Azerbaijanis helplessly bear the brunt of the assaults and suffer tens of losses of lives, hundreds of injuries, thousands of detentions and untold torture.
I hasten to add that there is no scarcity of information in both Amnesty International and the UN High Commission on Human Rights, as we are one of the organisations that reported on recent human rights abuses and casualties e.g. our letter Ref.: 333/2006 on 8 June 2006.
Yet our people keep struggling without any consolation for their sufferings under these inexplicable Iranian attacks and the silence of the world media. So where are those defending democracy, safeguarding human rights and those libertarians upholding freethinking?
Dear General Secretary, Southern Azerbaijan is at present a nation with no status. Faced with limited options and under continual threat, we turn to the United Nations and yourself for assistance and protection. Conversely, a helpless nation such as ours has nowhere to go other than to appropriate international organisations and also the United Nations, where you are empowered to protect us at this desperate time and under this sustained aggression.
In recent days, the brutal mindset of the Iranian authorities taking cover behind religion has inflicted untold tragedies in Southern Azerbaijan. A host of Azerbaijani Diaspora organisations has been actively reflecting the events to reach the world public opinion. The following statements by Amnesty International in the last one year bear a witness to our ongoing struggle:
· AI Index : MDE 13/064/ 2006 9 June 2006
· AI Index : MDE 13/063/ 2006 8 June 2006
· AI Index : MDE 13/055 / 2006 26 May 2006
· AI Index : MDE 13/047 / 2006 5 May 2006
· AI Index : MDE 13/046 / 2006 4 May 2006
· AI Index : MDE 13/039 / 2006 19 April 2006
· AI Index : MDE 13/046 / 2005 24 August 2005
It is vital for us that you are thoroughly informed about Southern Azerbaijan and therefore we would like to attach the translation of the letter by the Society of (Southern) Azerbaijani Academics (AzBilTop) as an illustration of the case for Southern Azerbaijan, issued on 24 May 2006 to the Ministry of Justice of the Islamic Republic of Iran, addressing it to the Minister of Justice, Mr. Shahrudi. We believe that a fact-finding meeting between your representative in Iran and a member of this Society will be very fruitful. Our Committee is responsible for this request, hoping that you will directly contact them through the following email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope that you will contact the above, taking appropriate measures to protect their safety. Please bear in mind that Iranian authorities act brutally against activists and our peaceful people.
Having considered the facts presented in this letter, we kindly request you to take the necessary step to condemn the Iranian government, who violates our human rights and fails to comply with the right for the self determination of Southern Azerbaijanis whilst being an under-signatory of the UN proclamation 2002A (XXI) issued in 1966.
Chairperson, the Committee for Defending the Rights of the World Azerbaijanis
CC Mr. Nelson Mandela, (the past of this great man is our contemporary and reminds us Mr. Sefer Qehremani)
The First Secretariat of the European Council, Strasburg
High Commiserate of Human Rights, Geneva and Amnesty international, London
The General Secretary of the Islamic Conference Organisation
Reputable Mass Media on Human Rights
Translation of the Open Letter by
The Society of (Southern) Azerbaijani Academics
Issued on 24 May 2006
The letter by the Society of Southern Azerbaijani Academics in relation to the ongoing mass protests of the nation of (Southern) Azerbaijan to the Ministry of Justice
(A note of translation: in order not to create any prejudice against the Republic of Azerbaijan, the translator added “Southern” within bracket before Azerbaijan. The Republic of Azerbaijan is not a party to the subject matter of this letter.)
Dear Minister of Justice of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Your Excellency Hojjet-ul-Islam Shahrudi
You are fully aware that all provinces of (Southern) Azerbaijan have orchestrated mass protests in the form of sitting in, marches, writing letters and issuing statements against the abuse waged by the official newspaper Iran against the honourable nation of Azerbaijan. These protesters were regrettably opposed by violence due to the inaptness and ill-intentions of provincial authorities and security agents. Outcomes of the ongoing violence inflicted on our people are: tens of losses of lives, hundreds of injuries and thousands of arbitrary arrests of innocent people. Azerbaijan now is truly immersed in sadness. This is in a background where there is a complete absence of slogans against the system and the authorities; and seemingly these very agents are disappointed and angered by the nobility and gentility of our people. The apt behaviour of our people is marred by unwise behaviours of your agents and therefore they must be held responsible for increasing dissent and cynicism of the Azerbaijani nation against the state and government of Iran.
Dear Minster of Justice, in the course of this ongoing violence numerous sons and daughters of Azerbaijani were victimised indiscriminately, who in the current political literature of Iran are referred to as the fruits of the revolution! In addition, the arrested and imprisoned persons are numerous, who by and large include academics, writers, poets, journalists and in one word they are the elites of (Southern) Azerbaijan.
Ayatollah Shahrudi, the campaign of repression against Southern Azerbaijanis does not comply with any international or national norms of law. On the contrary, citizen’s rights are severely being breached but you are presiding over a system that governs the execution of these laws including the officers and judges of the Justice Department.
Dear Minster of Justice, whilst thousands of the sons and daughters of Azerbaijan are condemned to your detention centre and secure units of hospitals, the authorities of the Justice Department are shocked with the temporary banning of the newspaper Iran and do everything within their means to emphasise the necessity of unbarring Iran. They take the nation of Azerbaijan for a fool, as if this nation is unable to understand these political ploys. The Voice and the Image of the Country (”Seda ve Simaye Iran” – a television program in Iran) everyday resonates every trivial protests in every corner of the world and broadcasts them several times a day and equally the news media of the country report hundreds of trivial news items everyday. Let us declare that we know well that in these sensitive moments we are on our own and not only all these media have abandoned us but some unwise authorities threaten the whole regions of (Southern) Azerbaijan and blow their trumpet of provocation. Their libellous provocations are amplified as in the tone that some criminals and agents of MUSAD and CIA have just landed from the aeroplanes of Israel and America and seeded these mass protests.
The news broadcast at 8.30 of Channel 2 portrayed innocent pictures of the personnel of Iran, as if the nation of Azerbaijan, implied for the tyranny, have victimised them! There is no one to ask these propagandists that why do you not inspect the tens of journal and publication offices in (Southern) Azerbaijan whose personnel are in detention? Or thousands of (Southern) Azerbaijani families that have their loved ones locked in detention centres? Their legitimate grievances and heart-cries are heard by no one in Iran. Even for once, come and listen to the heart-cries of mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers of Azerbaijan who are suffering by unwise policies implemented by some of you.
Your Excellency, Ayatollah Shahrudi, all the indications are that a number of agents are determined to attribute the ongoing mass protests to foreign and alien agents and to support these by television shows and thereby condemn innocent people. This is why we are duly requesting you to appoint a special commission to report on the Azerbaijani mass protests and the lawlessness inflicted against them; to prevent injustice waged against the sons and daughters of Azerbaijanis taking part in the mass protests and the breach of their civil liberties; and punishing the culprits against Azerbaijanis. In spite of your inner support for us if you cannot oblige to our requests, we have to refer to international organisations.
The Society of (Southern) Azerbaijani Academics
24 May 2006
The SOURCE DOCUMENT ISSUED BY THE ACDEMIC SOCIETY OF (SOUTHERN) AZERBAIJANIS – ISSUED ON 24 May 2006