Saturday, 7 March 2009

IMHRO Letter to Director General of UNESCO: Ethnic Minorities are banned from speaking and being educated in their Mother tongue in Iran

Iranian Minorities’ Human Rights Organisation (IMHRO)

Dear Hon Koïchiro Matsuura
Director General of UNESCO
7, place de Fontenoy

75352 Paris 07 SP



I am writing to you as the Director of the Iranian Minorities Human Rights Organisation (IMHRO). We campaign for the human rights of ethnic, religious, gender and sexual minorities in Iran.

May I take this opportunity to thank UNESCO for raising the issue of the use of mother tongue, and especially the launch of the Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger, which we are consider it as a great step forward.

One of the big issues that ethnic minorities are facing in Iran is the ban on studying in their mother tongue. Although Article 15 of the Iranian Constitution states the right of ethnic minorities in Iran to be educated in their mother tongue, the Iranian Government has never allowed this to happen.

The Iranian Government forces all children to study in the Persian (Farsi) language, and even bans them from speaking in their mother tongue to each other in school. Any type of free media in ethnic minority languages is banned and the use of ethnic languages in any arts form is also prohibited.

Many cultural activists belonging to Turk (Azeri), Kurd, Baluch, Arab and Turkmen communities in Iran, are in prison and persecuted just for demanding basic human rights for their ethnic groups. Some have even been executed for campaigning for their cultural rights.

As the Hon Koïchiro Matsuura knows better than most people, children who are banned from education and communication in their mother tongue, later face communication and personality disorders, identity crises and all sorts of psycho-social issues.

We ask the Hon Koïchiro Matsuura to address the issue of the right of ethnic minorities in Iran to be educated in and communicate in their mother tongue and to request the Iranian Government to implement this right.

Yours sincerely

Reza Washahi
IMHRO Director

1 comment:

Brian Barker said...

Although International Mother Language Day is now over, you may be interested in the contribution, made by the World Esperanto Association, to UNESCO's campaign for the protection of endangered languages.

The following declaration was made in favour of Esperanto, by UNESCO at its Paris HQ in December 2008.

The commitment to the campaign to save endangered languages was made, by the World Esperanto Association at the United Nations' Geneva HQ in September. or

I hope that you do not mind me passing on this information