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September 24, 2012

AHWAZI ARAB REFUGEES PROTEST IN CANBERRA : OFF SHORE PROCESSING AND HUMAN RIGHTS IN IRAN

by refugeeactioncoalitionsydney

A group of around 50 Ahwazi Arab refugees are holding two protests in Canberra today, on Monday 24 September.

The protesters, travelling from Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne will hold a protest outside the Iranian Embassy from 12 noon to 2.00pm.

This will be followed by a protest outside the Australian Parliament House between 2.30 and 3.30pm.

Millions of Ahwazi Arabs live in an area of south-west Iran, once called Arabistan, but the Ahwazi Arabs are a persecuted minority within Iran. Arabs make up 70 per cent of the population of Khuzestan, but only 5 per cent of important administrative posts are Arabs.

There has long been demands for autonomy and independence for the region.

Arabic language is banned in schools and there are no Arabic language newspapers. Recently four Arab political activists, three of whom were brothers, were executed on June 18, 2012 in Ahwaz. (Reported by Amnesty International). Two months earlier, five other Arab activists in Khalafabad were sentenced to death. In the past year and half, at least five Arab political activists have been killed under torture in the province’s prisons.

Spokesperson for the Ahawazi Arabs, Ahmad Hamid, said, “We are protesting at the Iranian embassy for our human rights. There have been so many people executed.

“And we are also protesting at the Australian parliament about off-shore processing and sending asylum seekers to Nauru. There are many Ahwazi Arabs in immigration detention who are threatened to be sent to Nauru. We want Australia to help them.

“We are also asking the Australian government to raise our human rights situation and condemn Iran in the United Nations.”

There are at least 35 Ahwazi Arabs, 18 of them under 18 years old in the Christmas Island immigration detention centre.

For more information call Ahmad Hamid on 0434053847 or Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

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