Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Human Rights in Kurdistan
Ali Afshari - 2008.07.22
The imminent possibility of enforcing the death sentence on a Kurdish teacher named ‎Farzad Kamangar, and the recent heavy punishments that were passed on to other civil ‎and political activists in Kurdistan has turned this western province in Iran into the ‎leading locale for the regime’s suppressive and oppressive practices.‎
The fear that allowing political and social freedoms may lead to the separation of the ‎province from Iran is the basis of the narrow-minded measures and policies that Tehran is ‎adapting. Certainly the resistance of the Kurds against the government’s use of force and ‎their demonstration of their grievances has had their impact in the form that during all ‎elections, the leanings of the Kurdish groups have been towards either independent ‎candidates or those whom the central government has opposed.‎
But because of the state’s unfair treatment and policies, a radical movement too has taken ‎shape which erroneously views the Kurdish problems to come from animosity of the ‎Persians, thus leading it to conclude that the only way to “liberation” is to take up arms ‎against the state. This movement, lead by the armed Pejvak group has itself exacerbated ‎the shortcomings and deprivations in the region and has at times even facilitated the ‎legitimacy of the severe policies of the state for the region.‎
These two views have been like the two blades of a pair or scissors which have harmed ‎the welfare, development and freedoms in Kurdistan.‎
The resultant conclusion of the long struggle and the turbulent history of this province ‎has been that the dominant movement now is the attainment of the Kurdish rights within ‎a democratic Iran and the provision of ethnic autonomy similar to that given to other ‎regions in the country that were achieved through peaceful and civil means in recent ‎years. From this perspective, the residents of every region, while accepting the larger ‎policies of the country, are free to pursue local policies, disburse local resources, and ‎hold organize events to strengthen their identity in the cultural and linguistic spheres ‎along with the Persian language.‎
This view is consistent with the conditions of Iranian society and its history as it meets ‎the specific needs and aspirations of the Iranian sub-national groups such as the Kurds, ‎Turks, Arabs, Kurkmen and Baluchis, while at the same time removing the concerns ‎about the territorial integrity of Iran as a whole.‎
The roots of the recent violent approaches of the central government in Kurdistan stem ‎from the strengthening of this approach whose activists have chosen peaceful means of ‎expressing their views. Security forces (from Tehran) prefer to deal with the violent ‎Pejvak group rather than dealing with the social and NGO groups who strive to ‎strengthen civil rights.‎
The central government tries to justify its use of violence by linking the provincial events ‎to be directed from outside the country and to armed groups, thus blocking the activities ‎of the peaceful groups.‎
Under these circumstances, it is important the pro-democracy movement in Iran define its ‎specific and legitimate positions about the ethnic groups and sub-national groups in Iran. ‎At the same time, ethnic groups should stress that their membership in Iran is serious and ‎clearly express their disdain for separatist groups within a democratic and peaceful ‎context.‎
The state’s inhuman policies that violate human rights in Kurdistan achieve nothing but ‎hate and revenge and can only lead to catastrophic and destructive results.‎
After all one must not forget that human rights are not confined to a national, sub-‎national or ethnic group and are above them, and so everybody must strive to enjoy their ‎benefits and combat their absence.‎
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