Date: 15 Feb 2007
Dear Mrs. Harrison,
Re Arbitrarily Detained Southern Azerbaijanis at the Wake of the International Day of Mother Tongue
We are writing to you in relation to the Southern Azerbaijanis celebrating the International Day of Mother Tongue on the 21st of February.
One of the running themes in our campaigns before you is the status of the mother tongue of the 30 million Southern Azerbaijanis who are currently governed by Iran. You are well familiar with the plain fact that there is even no single classroom in our mother tongue. We welcome your past campaigns but fail to understand how some International organisations can remain indifferent to such Iranian racist policies, a disgraceful to humanity in the 21st century.
Your own valuable urgent actions and our campaigns and correspondences to your organisation and the OHCHR include a sufficient documentation to verify that Iranian authorities are trigger happy to suppress Southern Azerbaijanis by depriving them of a whole range of human rights including the right to education in mother tongue.
The May 2006 Mass Protests are a clear example but the subsequent detainees, including those in relation to the campaign to save mother tongue at the commencement of the academic year 2006, are still deprived of their liberty. These include:
1.Mr. Abbas Leysanli (Erdebil), Mr. Rza Abbasi (Zenjan), Mr. Elyaz Yekenli (Urmu) and
2.Mr. Behruz Elizade (Erdebil), Mr. Qurban Zarei and Mr. Ferhad Mohseni (both from Tebriz).
Whilst they are currently imprisoned by arbitrary charges, their human rights are also blatantly violated.
Now we are at the wake of a new campaign for mother tongue organised by Southern Azerbaijani activists with calls to demonstrations and protests in various cities, e.g. Urmu and Erdebil, both provincial capitals of Southern Azerbaijan and Tebriz, the historic capital of Azerbaijan. Yet the Iranian authorities are in full gear towards suppression. For instance, student throughout Southern Azerbaijan are engaged to organise seminars and meetings in relation to the 21st of February Commemoration. The activists detailed below are already confirmed by reliable sources to have been detained:
Iranian authorities are not releasing any information about the above named activists and their families have no information on the whereabouts of their loved ones.
Clearly these arbitrary acts are to deter the nation of Southern Azerbaijan from demanding their legitimate rights. We therefore appreciate if you intervene for safeguarding human rights of Southern Azerbaijanis as well as those of the above detainees.
For and on behalf of
The Committee for the Defence of the Rights of World Azerbaijanis