No: 444/ 2007
Date: 20 February 2007
Dear Mrs. Harrison
Please find enclosed an overview of the various initiatives by the Southern Azerbaijani activists to celebrate the international day of mother tongue on 21 February 2007.
The overview report pools together various information items and aims to project an insight into the ongoing events in the context of the national movement of Southern Azerbaijan.
We would like to express our gratitude to your organisations and other similar organisations for their role in defending the national and human rights of the nation of Southern Azerbaijan and look forward to your campaign for the detained activists and calling the authorities to comply with their international obligations towards the nation of Southern Azerbaijan.
The Committee for the Defence of the Rights of World Azerbaijanis
THE CELEBRATION OF THE MOTHER TONGUE DAY
IN SOUTHERN AZERBAIJAN
AS IRANIAN AUTHORITIES RESORT TO REPRESSIVE ACTS
The nation of Southern Azerbaijan is once again pledging their resolve to secure the reinstatement of the official status of the Azerbaijani Turkic language throughout Southern Azerbaijan. Preparations are underway for a nationwide show of solidarity with our mother tongue.
The national movement of Southern Azerbaijan has now a well established pulse rate, which is a testimony for the health of the movement thoroughly rooted in human rights. The commendable strength of human rights is now a shield for the barehanded Southern Azerbaijani nationalists defiantly resisting racist policies spearheaded by the Islamic Republic of Iran since 1990. Whilst 2006 reached its culmination by the virtue of the May 2006 Mass Protests with 2 million participants granting the necessary mandate for the movement, the year 2007 seems to be the year of increased momentum towards the consolidation of the movement, thanks to the one month long hunger strike of Mr. Abbas Leysanli, a protagonist of the national movement.
This outline report is issued to introduce the richness of initiatives by the nation of Southern Azerbaijan and infamous acts of repression inflicted by the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran, violating international conventions and their own laws. The report presents the following:
· The history of celebrating of the International Mother Tongue Day in Southern Azerbaijan. This is based on an article by Mr. Elirza Serrafi, a veteran of the national movement.
· A reflection of some of the nationwide plans in the form of a plethora of statements by various vanguard groups and associations
· An outline of the repressive acts of the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran
2. Embracing the Mother Tongue Day by the Nations of Southern Azerbaijan
We are providing you the translation of an article on this issue by Mr. Elirza Serrafi in Table 1, which is concise and authoritative.
3. Preparations for Demonstrations
Although the activists of the national movement of Southern Azerbaijan have keenly applied for licences to peaceful demonstrations throughout Southern Azerbaijan, there are indications that the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran have ordered their subservient local agents not to ratify these applications or act as obstructionist. Various groups and cultural associations have issued statements calling for street demonstrations. Many are planning to take to the streets with their families to minimise the risk of arbitrary onslaughts by the authorities. Some of the initiatives include:
· Distributing CDs and leaflets, three examples are given in Table 2
· Organising conferences and parties, for instance due to collaboration between the Sehend Literary Society, the Islamic Society and the Centre for Publicising (Southern) Azerbaijan successfully presented a conference on 19 February 2007 in Tebriz University. The details are yet to emerge. (Source: http://www.baybak.com/Baybak/?p=4831).
· Mr Hidayet Zakir (Arazli) and his wife Mrs. Ulduz Arazli have pledged to undergo hunger strike towards publicising the unacceptable status of the mother tongue of the 30 million Southern Azerbaijanis. They have issued a communiqué detailing the sufferings of the nation of Southern Azerbaijan inflicted by the Iranian racist policies. They insist that the Azerbaijani Turkic language must be the language of education throughout Azerbaijani educational institutions all the way through and including higher educations in the universities. Mr. Hidayet Zakir himself is a teacher by profession. Source: GunAzTV and http://www.35000000.com/habergoruntule.asp?bolum=243&katid=48
· There are calls almost from all the Southern Azerbaijani cities for demonstrations, many of which were aired from GunAzTV (Southern Azerbaijani TV broadcasting from the USA). These are also published in the Southern Azerbaijani websites, e.g. http://oyrenci.mihanblog.com/Rss.ASPX. The cities with well publicised demonstrations include: Urmu, Khoy, Qoshachay, Sulduz, Zenjan, Erdebil, Khiyov, and Tebriz. These are examples and by no means exhaustive. An example of the call for demonstrations is given in Table 3.
4. A Glimpse of Repressive Acts by Iranian Authorities
Whilst the nation of Southern Azerbaijan goes
from strength to strength in demanding their national and human
rights, often symbolised in terms of the demand for the
reinstatement of the Azerbaijani Turkic throughout Southern
Azerbaijan as the official language, the Iranian authorities keep
resorting to their singular approach of repression. Table 4
outlines the basic details of the individuals who were arrested.
Some have been released on bail, others are arbitrarily detained.
More details are yet to emerge:
Also two of the above individuals (1. Mehdi Movlai and 2. Jefer Abidini) are known to be forced to drink poisonous liquid, after which they have suffered from stomach upsets and vomiting (http://haqqimiz.blogfa.com/post-351.aspx). These were known to happen in the past but the names of the victims were not known. Now this evidence is in hand.
It has been reported in Azerbaijani websites that some 100 activists were summoned by Iranian authorities in the Southern Azerbaijani city of Eher. One example of these reports is http://haqqimiz.blogfa.com/. The authorities have forced these activists to sign a statement that they will not take part in the planned meetings in Tebriz and the provincial capitals of Southern Azerbaijani province of Urmu, Zenjan and Erdebil.
It has also been reported that Mr. Saleh Molla-Abbasi and others have vehemently refused to comply with these coercions.
Some of others suppressive acts are as follows:
· The students publication Tekhte-siyah was banned by Iranian authorities.
· Mr. Yunus Zarei, the leader of the Arman Student Organisations, was cautioned
· The weekly Veravi was banned in Khiyov
5. Concluding Remark
The integrity of human rights can only be maintained by solidarity with the defenders of human rights. Today, the nation of Southern Azerbaijan is defending even their most basic human rights, the right for the reinstatement of the official status of Azerbaijani Turkic. We reflected a glimpse of the events as they roll out in Southern Azerbaijan. We hope you are monitoring the situation and will be defending the just cause of our nation before it is too late.