In mei 2019 werd in Iran de 29-jarige lerares Zara Mohammadi gearresteerd. Nadat ze meer dan een jaar in illegale voorhechtenis zat, veroordeelde het Iraans Revolutionaire Gerechtshof haar onlangs (op 13 juli 2020) tot 10 jaar gevangenis. Zara Mohammadi werd beticht van “samenscholing met als doel de nationale veiligheid te schaden”. Dat soort aanklacht is in Iran een ‘standaard’ geworden die gericht is tegen alle burgerrechten-, mensenrechten- en politieke activisten in Iran.

Waarvoor is Zara in werkelijkheid veroordeeld? Zij is leerkracht en gaf haar leerlingen Koerdische taalles. Dat gebeurde in Sanandaj, de hoofdstad van een provincie dat de Iraanse autoriteiten erkennen als Koerdistan, waar de bevolking overwegend Koerdisch is en de Koerdische taal wordt gesproken in het dagelijkse leven.

Nu het nog kan roepen wij iedereen op om te ageren tegen dit onrecht en de onderstaande brief te ondertekenen en te richten aan vooraanstaande politici en vertegenwoordigers bij de Verenigde Nates, de Europese Unie en de eigen regeringen (federaal en regionaal) opdat zij op hun beurt de nodige druk zetten bij de Iraanse politieke instanties.

To ………

About the prison sentence for teacher Zahra Mohammadian in Iran

We would like to call your urgent attention to the dire situation of a Kurdish teacher in Iran, Ms. Zahra Mohammadian, who was arrested in May 2019. Spending more than a year in an illegal pre-trial detention, she was tried on 13 July 2020 by the Iranian Revolutionary Court and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. She was accused of “group assembling in order to threaten national security”: a factious charge that is labelled against all civil, human rights and political activists in Iran.  

According to human rights resources, the 29-year-old teacher had not committed anything illegal that would threaten the country’s national security. Zahra Mohammadian is a teacher. All she had done was to teach children the Kurdish language in Sanandaj city, the capital of a province the Iranian authorities have recognised as Kurdistan, where its population is predominantly Kurdish and speak Kurdish in their daily life.

There is no need to stress that Ms. Mohammadian’s arrest and imprisonment stand in violation of the Iranian Constitution, Article 15, which stipulates, the use of the Kurdish language in the press and mass media, as well as for teaching of literature in schools, is allowed along Persian. In addition to the Iranian Constitution, her sentence violates important international documents such as Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (United Nations, 1948) enshrines the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

UN Resolution A/RES/61/266 called upon Member States “to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world”. This resolution has particular relevance for minority mother tongue. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO 2017) states “Local languages, especially minority and indigenous, transmit cultures, values and traditional knowledge, thus playing an important role in promoting sustainable futures.” The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) states that all children have the right to education (Article 28) the right to learn and use the language of their family (Article30). Moreover, under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) guarantee a direct and absolute right to the use of a minority language. Article 27 of the ICCPR provides that ‘persons belonging to . . . minorities shall not be denied the right . . . to enjoy their own culture, [and] . . . to use their own language’. The United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC), the body charged with interpreting the ICCPR, has made it clear that Article 27 calls for a positive ‘legislative, judicial or administrative’ commitment on the part of the state ‘to protect the identity of a minority’. Similarly, the Universal Declaration of Linguistic Rights (1996), the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (1992) and the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (1988) mandate for the use and promotion of the mother tongue, especially of minorities.

We would kindly request you to take the required measures to put pressure on the Iranian authorities to immediately release Ms. Mohammadian, and to respect both the Iranian Constitution and the international documents on human, civil and political rights.

Your sincerely

 

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