No.: 487/2008

Date: 25 February  2008

The Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva,

Please circulate this letter to:

·         The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention

·         Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance

·         The Independent Expert on Minority Issues


        Mr. Dyke and Mrs. Harrison, Amnesty International, London

Mr Rza Daghistani from Sulduz-Urmu

In Arbitrary detention

Dear sir/madam,


Please find enclosed General Communication for defending the mother language of the nation of Southern Azerbaijan. We have provided you a series of Communications in the past (e.g. Ref: 445/2007 on 22 February 2007 and Ref: 447/2007 on 5 March 2007), to keep you informing by evidence that the Islamic Republic of Iran violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights even with respect to the basic right of education in mother language.

This year too, the nation of Southern Azerbaijan showed determination to celebrate the International Mother Language Day but the Iranian authorities once again resorted to violence. We provide you the following evidence for the Iranian onslaught against Southern Azerbaijan related to the International Mother Language Day in 2008:

Table 1:    Overview of the scale of activities planned by Southern Azerbaijanis for celebrating this international day

Table 2:    A petition was lodged by Southern Azerbaijanis to the UNESCO

Table 3:    Formation of the Centre for Language and Culture in Southern Azerbaijan

Table 4:    Campaign initiatives by Southern Azerbaijanis

Table 5:    Iranian onslaught by creating a suppressive atmosphere and individuals suffered arbitrary detentions

The information in Table 2 should be highlighted that is the petition organised by Southern Azerbaijanis is for the attention of Mr. Koïchiro Matsuura, the Director-General of UNESCO. Under-signatories have nearly reached 18,000 individuals and considering that the Internet access in Southern Azerbaijan is effectively filtered out by the Iranian authorities, this is a massive indictment of the nation of Southern Azerbaijan against the Iranian authorities.

We have been providing you a sufficient amount of evidence that the Iranian authorities are spearheading their singular policies using all the resources of the country to exclusively serve the Farsi nation to promote their so called “Aryan” race. The Iranian authorities are in contempt of your mandates on the right to education in mother language and the defence of the mother language of the nation of Southern Azerbaijan is only feasible through your mandates. We are rallying for your campaign to defend our mother language.  We thank you in advance for your care.

Yours sincerely,

Boyuk Resuloglu

The Committee for the Defence of the Rights of World Azerbaijanis

Table 1         The Scale of Preparations by Southern Azerbaijanis to celebrate the International Mother Language Day

Source:             Reported widely in Southern Azerbaijani websites


Verified news received from all corners of Southern Azerbaijan shows that the preparation for the celebration of the International Mother Language Day is underway and for the third year in running, at the national scale. These include the following cities:

·         Urmu,

-          the provincial capital of West Azerbaijan and the second largest Azerbaijani city,

-          Massive preparation underway by distributing leaflets and CDs

-          According to the news (, Dr Talei (the deputy head of the Urmu University) responded to a question by OyrenciNews (what should we do when the authorities are not allowing the education in our mother language) we call it illegal if the authorities are not allowing education in our mother language.

-          Gatherings in Etai Square and Imam Street at 16.00 on the 21st of Febraury were dispersed by security agents and paramilitary units


·         Zengan, the provincial capital of the Southern Azerbaijani province of Khemse (Zengan)

-          Tebriz (;

·         Sulduz (

·         Khoy

·         Tebriz

·         Hemedan

·         Qezvin

·         Mughan

·         Astara

·         Enzeli

·         Erdebil

·         Khiyov

·         Miyana

·         Tehran

·         Qum (or Qon as transcribed according to Farsi pronunciation)

·         The Qashqay Turkic students have declared their celebration of the day in the University of Isfahan

·         It is also reported that the Turmens of Southern Turkmenistan have rallied in the defence of their mother language

Celebrations were also held in the various cities of the world by Southern Azerbaijani Diaspora including Stockholm, Oslo, London and many other cities.


Table 2         Petition Launched by Southern Azerbaijanis (Under-signatories reached nearly 18,000 individuals)   



The Director-General of UNESCO, Mr. Koïchiro Matsuura

We are writing to bring your attention to the systematic suppression of the Azeri-Turkish language and the imposition of Persian by the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI).

In most societies, the written and the spoken languages are the same. In such a society International Mother Language Day, February 21st, is a day of celebration and jubilation, but not for 35 million Azerbaijanis in Iran.

Since 1925, Iranian governments have banned the usage of Azeri-Turkish in the educational system. Millions of children born to Azerbaijani parents do not even have one school in which they can study in their language. In its place, Farsi is forced on them as the only legitimate Iranian language.

Currently in Iran, aside from three Azerbaijani provinces, Azeri-Turkish is spoken in the provinces and regions of Zanjan, Hamadan, Arak, Saveh and Northern Khorasan. Azeri-Turkish is also spoken by the Qashqayi Turks as well as various other Turkish-speaking peoples concentrated in the province of Fars and in central Iran. All of these people live under the Iranian administration with not a single course in their language available to them during their education from primary school to high school.

Every year, the people of Azerbaijan have tried to obtain permission to celebrate February 21st as International Mother Language Day, but are constantly denied assembling permits. The IRI regime imprisons cultural-linguistic activists who are trying to raise awareness about one of our most basic and fundamental rights as a people. Journalists or writers who publish in Azerbaijani Turkish become victims of the secret police, Etelaat. They are constantly harassed and tagged with labels such as “Pan-Turks” or “Separatists”.

Culture is a product of the history of a people and language is integral to culture. Subsequently, culture carries the entire body of values by which a nation comes to perceive themselves and their place in the world. By prohibiting individuals to study in their mother tongue, not only is language destroyed, but also the culture, history, heritage and economy of that people.

We urge you to place a particular importance on this issue which affects more than 30 million people in Iran. On behalf of Azeris in Iran, we ask that you take action to protect our mother tongue.


The Undersigned

Nearly 18,000 have undersigned this petition


Table 3         The Formation of the Centre for Language and Culture 

Source:            widely covered by Southern Azerbaijani websites, including  

Regrettably due to limited resources, we were unable to fully translate the text but outline it below.

Communication on forming the Centre for Language and Culture D.M.O

(in Azerbaijani Turkic D.M.O. = Dil və Mədəniyyət Ocağı)

Communication No 1 on 18 February 2006

Following the First Conference on the International Mother Language Day on 21st of February 2004 held in Tebriz (please note that we have submitted to your information the translation of the resolutions of this Conference in our report last year Ref: 447/2007; Date: 4 March 2007) undersigned by 3,333 individuals, a series of steps were taken to ensure the fruition of the resolution (we have reflected some of these actions and campaigns to you through our resolutions, e.g. (Table 1 on the General Communication, Ref: 485/2008; Date: 28 January 2008).

Yet, our educationalists have no sureties from the Iranian State to our nation to ensure our linguistic rights but we are confident that democratic means are the way to ensure our linguistic and cultural tights. So the D.M.O is now organised to ensure our rights.

D.M.O shall establish its activities within legal frameworks and human rights to demand the rights of the ethnic compositions within Iran and channel all the petitions to the right authorities. The aims of the D.M.O include organising conferences, issuing communiqués, defending children’s rights to education in mother language.

The founding members of the D.M.O include: Mrs. Shehnaz Qulami, Mrs. Jila Mehemmedkhani, Mrs. Shehin Heyderi, Mrs. Semiiye Fellahiyan and Mr. Mensuchehr Ezizi, Mr. Hemid Shafei, Mr. Elirza Serrafi, Mr. Hesen Rashidi, Mr. Ekber Azad, Mr. Seid Mughanli, and Mr. Eli Rzai

29 بهمن‌ماه 1385

بیانیه شماره یک

اعلام موجودیت  کانون زبان و فرهنگ "دمو" DMO.

نهادی در راستای پیگیری مطالبات زبانی و فرهنگی


 پس از نخستین کنگره‌ی "زبان مادری" در دوم اسفندماه سال 1382 در تبریز که قطعنامه‌ی آن به امضای 3333 نفر رسید، گروهی از فعالین کنگره، به همراه دبیر آن، مسئولیت نشر و پیگیری مفاد قطعنامه را برعهده گرفتند. و چندین مجلد از متن قطعنامه به زبانهای مختلف  و به‌ همراه امضاهای مربوطه به بسیاری از نهادها و مراجع ذیربط داخلی و بین‌المللی، ارائه شد. نشر و پیگیری‌های بعدی آن قطعنامه طی سال بعد نیز ادامه یافت (که گزارش مربوطه بموقع به اطلاع عموم مردم رسیده‌است). این سلسله پیگیری‌ها در رابطه با قطعنامه‌ی دومین کنگره‌ی زبان مادری در دانشگاه علم‌وصنعت تهران و نامه‌های سرگشاده دیگری که در همین رابطه نوشته شده بودند نیز مستمرا در طول چهار سال اخیر ادامه یافت.

ذست آخر همزمان با انتشار نامه‌ی "فردا ممکن است خیلی دیرباشد" در دیماه امسال هئیت پیگیری این نامه که درعین حال نیز از مسئولین پیگیری قطعنامه‌های فوق‌الذکر  بودند، برای اینکه این اقدامات روالی سیستماتیک داشته باشد، اقدام به تاسیس گروهی تحت عنوان کانون زبان و فرهنگ (دیل، مدنیت اوجاغی) که به‌اختصار "دمو" نامیده می‌شود، نمودند.

طبعا فعالین کانون نمی‌توانند هیچ تضمینی در به نتیجه رساندن سریع اقداماتشان خویش به مردم بدهند، اما نهایت سعی و تلاششان را در توضیح حقانیت مطالبات مردم و حداکثر همت خویش را در نشر آگاهی همگانی از حقوق زبانی و فرهنگی به عمل خواهندآورد و ایمان دارند که استمرار فعالیت‌های کانون دست کم در درازمدت اثرات مثبت خویش را (ولو به‌طور غیرمستقیم) در تحقق این مطالبات برجای خواهد گذارد.  

  اهداف و شیوه‌های فعالیت"دمو":

کانون زبان و فرهنگ "دمو" در طرح ونشر و پیگیری مطالبات برحق مردم خویش تشکیل شده و زمینه‌ی اصلی فعالیت خویش را نیز (از میان  انبوه مسائل مختلف  اقتصادی ، اجتماعی ، سیاسی و فرهنگی)، حیطه‌ی "زبان و فرهنگ" تعریف کرده‌است.

دمو سعی خواهد کرد در چارچوب قوانین جاری، با هدف دفاع از حقوق زبانی و فرهنگی  اقوام ایرانی و  رشد و گسترش آن در قالب فعالیتهای زیر گام بردارد:

1-   پیگیری کلیه‌ی نامه‌های گروهی که در راستای مطالبه با حقوق زبانی و فرهنگی صادر شده از طریق مراجعات حضوری  و مکاتبات اداری با مجلس، قوه قضائیه و وزارتخانه‌ها و نهادهای و هر مراجع ذی‌صلاح دیگر

2- تشکیل همایش‌ها، کنگره، کنفرانس و سمپوزیوم در زمینه‌های مسائل مربوط به زبان و فرهنگ

3-  تهیه و انتشار  بیانیه و گزارش به مناسبت‌های مختلف در راستای مدافعه از حقوق زبانی و فرهنگی مردم

4 - ايجاد تفاهم، وحدت در بین مردم جهت توسعه اقتصادي و اجتماعي ، سیاسی و فرهنگی جامعه  

5- دفاع از حقوق فرهنگی کودکان در بهره‌مندی از زبان مادری

6- ارائه گزارشهایی از عملکرد کانون از طریق بیانیه‌ها و ترتیب دادن مصاحبه با رسانه‌های جمعی


اعضای مؤسس:

اعضای مؤسس "دمو" عبارتند از خانم‌ها: شهناز غلامی، ژیلا محمدخانی، شهین حیدری و سمیّه فلاحیان و آقایان منوچهر عزیزی، حمید ‌شافعی، ‌علیرضا صرافی، حسن‌ راشدی، اکبر آزاد، سعید موغانلی و علی رضائی .

بدیهی است پس از تاسیس کانون "دمو"، هئیت موسس آن منحل شده و اداره امور را منتخبین اولین مجمع عمومی بر عهده می‌گیرند.


قابل ذکر است کلیه‌ی شهروندان فرهیخته‌ای که علاقه‌مند به حفظ و اشاعه‌ زبان و ادبیات و فرهنگ مادریشان بوده و مفاد اساسنامه‌ کانون "دمو" را بپذیرند، می‌تواند به عضویت آن درآیند و در راستای تحقق اهداف آن قبول مسئولیت نمایند.

قابل ذکر است که نحوه‌ی مراجعه به کانون جهت ارائه‌ی عضویت و .... عنقریبا به اطلاع خواهد رسید.

  روابط عمومی کانون زبان و فرهنگ



Table 4.1      Example 1 of Campaigns -

 Source:                      Widely published including  

The Communiqué issued by Azerbaijani Students movement states that:

It is a long time that our language, so intimate to us, is forbidden. We are neither allowed to contemplate our poetry before our eye nor by comforted by our folklore. Our fairy tales are given bloody nose. Now we see a revival of our heroes from every corner, heroism from the Caspian region, words of wisdom from the Savalan region, melodies from Khoy, and the River Araz seems as the wandering beauty, lost for song and deprived of livelihood, our children are wary of wicked forces.

Our elderly fellows are imprisoned; our hearts are tender; and our language is forbidden! At least let us hear birdsongs, but then we have some rotten; some overwhelmed by reactionary roars. And we suffer the loss of our language, its forbidden state and imprisonments. This is the challenge for us and solely for our mother language.

The (Southern) Azerbaijan Students Movement pay its tributes to the International Mother Language Day and congratulates everyone on this occasion. In order to secure all our rights, and in particular this basic right for education in our language, let us prepare for this challenge at a national scale. We swear by our honour , the victory is ours and sing again our motto that:

            “Tomorrow is ours.”


میللی شورا- دوم اسفند ماه 1386:ايللردير دوداقلاريميزدا چيرپينان سسيميز ياساقدير. نه گؤزلريميزدن قوشمالار اسديرمه يه حاققيميز وار نه قولاقلاريميزدا باياتيلاري گزديرمه يه.  ساري تئل گلينيميزين آغزي قانلي دير، ديلي كسيلميش. خزردن كوروغلو هارايي قوپور، ساوانلاندان قورقود ده ده ميزين ناغيللاري، اورين دن قوپوز و آراز سانكي جيران بالاسيدير ديلين ايتيرميش سوت سوز... .اوشاقلاريميزين ديليندن قارقيش دؤشمز، قارانليق قوروقچولارينا ايتحاف!

  آتا لاريميز دوستاقدا، آنالاريميز دا كؤوره ك اؤره ك لرين تنديره ياپيرلار، ديليميز ياساق! سسين كلسين باري بؤلبؤل...  كيمي لري چؤرؤمؤش سؤمؤكلرينه مدرن پالتار گئيديريب، كيمي لريسه گئري چيليگي باغيراركن ديليميز كسيلدي بيزيم، ياساق لاندي، دوستاقلاندي ...  " هئ­...ي دلي لريميز، بوگؤن چنلي بئليميز، يالنيز آنا ديليميز!"

آذربايجان اؤيرنجي حركاتي، دؤنيا آنا ديلي گؤنؤن، ياساق ديللي ميللتيميزين اؤنؤنده باش ايه ره ك، قوتلايير، بؤتؤن ميللي حاقلاريميزي، اؤزه لليكله تانري سل ديليميزين اؤيره تيم حاققيني الده ائتمك اؤچؤن اولوسال ساواشينا گؤنؤ گؤندن آرتيق آندلي اولدوغونو غورورلا سؤيله يير.  اوغور مؤطلق بيزيمدير.  دوداقلاريميزدا آنا ديليميزده  ظفر نغمه سي چالاسي ...    گله­جك بيزيمدير-آذربايجان اؤيرنجي حركاتي-20 فئوئرال 2008


Hunger strike by Southern Azerbaijani students in Tebriz on the International Mother Language Day on 21 February 2008

The right to education in mother language and speak it is a basic right throughout history and our mother grant it for us for the first time.

Deprivation from this basic right impacts the psychological wellbeing of individuals and will have side effects on the formation of personality. On the other hand, the absence of national consciousness worldwide impacts on diversity and lead to the narrowness of culture.

In order to dispel discrimination, injustice stemming from repressive acts against linguistic and ethnic diversity, there is an express mandate for their promotion through the Barcelona Universal Declaration enacted by the UNESCO.

In our country, Article 15 of the Constitution is conferring this right to every individual within this territory. However, still after 25 years since the revolution, nothing has come to fruition and the constituent nations, in particular Southern Azerbaijanis making up the majority are deprived of this basic right.

On this basis, we the undersigned student of schools and universities of Tebriz shall resort to hunger strike (on 21st of February 2008) in order to secure our rights to education in our mother language.

See the under-signatories

 روزۀ اعتراض دانش آموزان و دانشجویان

 شهر تبـریز در روز دوم اسفند؛ روز جهانی زبان مادری

میللی شورا- 4 شنبه اول اسفند1386  :اولین حق طبیعی بشریت در طول تاریخ ، حق نوشتن و خواندن به زبان مادری هر فرد محسوب می شود. این حق را برای اولین بار « مادر » هر شخص به او اعطاء می کند .

انسانی که از این حق خدادادی خویش محروم بماند دچار ناراحتی های روانی گردیده و به بیماری تعارض شخصیت مبتلا می شود . از دیگر طرف در صورت فقدان شعور ملی (مادری) در جوامع گوناگون ، مدنیت و فرهنگهای مختلف در طول زمان در مناطق و قاره ها ، پدید نمی آید .

در جهت رفع تبعیض و بی عدالتی در حق زبان مادری هر قوم و ملت ، سازمان حقوق بشر جهانی و اصول مندرج در یونسکو و بیانیه جهانی زبانی بارسلون و مواد قید شده در میثاق بین المللی حقوق مدنی و سیاسی، صریحا حق تحصیل به زبان مادری هر انسان اعلام شده است .

در کشور ما نیز در اصل 15 قانون اساسی این حق به تمامی مردمان ساکن در این سرزمین داده شده ، اما بعد از 29 سال از انقلاب این مورد هنوز اعطاء نگردیده است و ملتهای متشکل خصوصا اکثریت عظیم تورکهای آذربایجان از تحصیل به زبان مادری (ملی) خویش محروم هستند .

لذا ما دانش آموزان دبیرستانها و دانشجویان دانشگاههای شهر تبریز برای رسیدن به این حق طبیعی و قانونی خویش روز دوم اسفند 1386 ( 21 فئوریه سال 2008) برابر روز جهانی زبان مادری به روزۀ اعتراض دست خواهیم زد


To reduce the size of the document only half of the signatures are presented


Table 4.2      Example 2 of the Campaigns: The campaign letter by the Students Union of Open University of Erdebil to the General Secretary of UNESCO offices in Iran relating to the International Mother Language day (Regrettably we were unable to translate it to English due to limited resources)



Table 5.1      Suppressive Acts of Iranian Authorities in Southern Azerbaijan 

Source:                   widely covered by Southern Azerbaijani websites, including and

·         Overall massive repressive atmosphere was superimposed over Southern Azerbaijan by the Iranian authorities to prevent the marking of the International Mother Language Day. The repressive show of force were particularly strong in Urmu, Zengan, Tebriz Erdebil and Sulduz, Some incidental reports are:

·         Zengan:

-          Installing extra surveillance street cameras in Zengan

-          Military vigilance all over the city used as a deterrent measure

-          Certain activists are warned not to participate in the celebration

-          The “Pinar” bookshop (selling Azerbaijani Turkic books) is under threat by the authorities

-          On the 21st of February, the police dispersed a group of people who were singing:

                                Our language is not for conversion

                                Our language cannot be replaced

·         Urmu: it was widely reported that a military atmosphere was superimposed in Urmu with the presence of highly geared paramilitary units (

·         Sulduz: the families of the victims of the individuals suffering from the extra-judiciary executions by the Iranian paramilitary units on the May 2006, are being tried and the coincidence of these trials with this the International Mother Language Day is seen as an additional deterrent signal (

·         Qum (Qom) ( The grave of the Southern Azerbaijani enlightener Mirza Hesen Rushdiye is under surveillance. He is responsible for the introduction of first modern school in Southern Azerbaijan (and Iran) who devised the curriculum in our mother language, Azerbaijani Turkic.

Table 5.2          Repressions by the Iranian Authorities in Southern Azerbaijan

Source:                      ASMEK and SavalanNews

Urmu (

Seid Nesiri

17 years old student arrested apparently when distributing leaflets inviting people to celebrate the International Mother Language Day

Ashiq Esger Sa’id

He was summoned to the Office of Ministry of Information in Urmu on the 21st of February, who he has not returned since then.

Mehdi Nuri

Was arrested in his shop in Urmu on the 21st of February 2008

Shehram Qulizade

Was arrested on the 21st in relation to celebrating the day.

Zengan (

Shehram Allah Muradi

It is two week that he has been detained incommunicado

15 individuals

They were rounded up when participating in street gatherings in Sebze Square

Sulduz (

Rza Daghistani

·   A 27 years old journalist, Webblog writer and a teacher of Azerbaijani Turkic, the director of student publication, Chenli Bel published in Sulduz; with contributions to other arbitrarily banned periodicals e.g. Ferda-ye-ma and Seda-ye-Urmu (published in Urmu) and Neda-ye-Sulduz

·   Was arrested around mid-day on the 21st of February 2008 by agents of the Ministry of Information in raiding house in Urmu

·   His computer, CDs, books and other personal belongings were confiscated

·   He is kept incommunicado


Azərbaijani Turkic

print    forward    download

main page      up