Indiscriminate Killings of Kurdish civilians known as Kulbar is rising in Iranian Kurdistan

Indiscriminate Killings of Kurdish civilians known as Kulbar is rising in Iranian Kurdistan

Even though the current Islamic Republic administration pledged to change its security approach toward Iranian Kurdistan, the indiscriminate killings of Kurdish Kulbaran (border couriers or tradesmen) has dramatically increased in first half of 2017, as compared to available statistics in previous year (2016). The indiscriminate and blind killing of Kurdish Kulbaran takes place in blatant violation of Iran’s domestic laws and international obligations.

KMMK-G has received reports of indiscriminate and blind killings of 144 border couriers known as Kulbar in the first seven months of 2017. Iranian border security forces killed 47 kulbars, and injured 97 kulbars. Border security forces involved in indiscriminate and blind killings do not respect Iranian domestic laws, which authorize the use of lethal force only as a last resort. Moreover, authorities arrested a significant number of kulbaran in 2017, confiscating their goods. In addition, hundreds of horses belonging to Kurdish Kulbars were also shot dead.

Due to high rates of unemployment, and land contamination caused by landmines and explosive remnants of the Iran-Iraq war that hamper seriously the daily life of civilians particularly the farmers, the nomads, the shepherds and traders, the Kurdish youth and farmers from four Kurdish provinces of Kermanshah, Kurdistan, Ilam and Wermê (West Azerbaijan) engage in smuggling commodities, such as tea, tobacco and fuel to earn a living.

KMMK-G Oral Statement to 18th HRC session/Paralel session: “ Iran: Landmines and the Righ to Life”

KMMK-G Oral Statement to 18th HRC session/Paralel session: “ Iran: Landmines and the Righ to Life”

 

                                                                                                      Ladies and Gentlemen,

Iran is one of the most mined fields in the Middle-east. Mines and Explosive Remnants of War (ERW), especially unexploded ordnance (UXO), remain in Iran from the 1980-1988 conflict with Iraq, affecting particularly the Kurdish provinces and the province of Khuzestan (Ahwaz –Arab region).[1] Unexploded ordnance (UXO) is said to include cluster munitions[2] remnants.

The Iranian Kurdistan along with Ahwaz-Arab provinces but also the Baluchistan suffers badly from landmines. Despites the urgent need of demining, the Authorities have neglected these regions in their de-mining programs, which seriously impact the daily life of people and hamper the development of agriculture and industry in the region.

Despite the International NGO’s frequent demands to the Islamic Republic of Iran to adhere to international conventions on banning landmines, the Iranian authorities have not acceded yet to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty known as Ottawa convention. Moreover, they have abstained from voting on every annual UN General Assembly Resolution supporting the Mine Ban Treaty since 1997, including the resolution 63/64 on 2 December 2008.

There is clear evidence that Iran is producing and exporting anti-personnel mines to its neighbouring countries such as Afghanistan[3], Tajikistan[4] and also to Somalia[5] while the government states that it has stopped both activities.

This notwithstanding, all major Kurdish political parties involved in armed conflict with the Iranian army in the past, e.g. the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan, have signed the Geneva Call’s Deed of Commitment for Adherence to a Total Ban on Anti-Personnel Mines and for Cooperation in Mine Action.[6] .

The Islamic Republic of Iran emplaced landmines not only around the borders, but also in the heart of Kurdistan. In fact, the Pasdaran forces (the Revolutionary Guards) use to place mines around its military bases in Kurdish villages, towns and mountains. The military even places heavy mines around the water sources in the mountains to prevent the Kurdish Peshmergas (guerrillas) to get resourced with drink water, which often causes casualties among civilians: farmers, nomads, shepherds and sheep traders.

The number of mine/ERW casualties in Iran remains unknown and little information exist about the number of landmines victims. In Kurdish media, there are daily reports about victims of mine/ERW who are often civilians. Provinces with Kurdish populations—Kurdistan, Western Azerbaijan, Ilam and Kermanshah—all lay on the heavily-mined border with Iraq. A UN report mentions approximately 10’000 casualties by 2006[7].

In 2003, Shirin Ebadi the recipient of the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize organized a Mine Clearing Collaboration Campaign to charter a new NGO to aid in demining and victim assistance but the government never authorized it’s creation.

The Quds Force which is the Iranian parallel military force has  created Janbazan Foundation and the Iran Mine Action Center as NGO to work in demining and assisting the landmines victims but in reality these NGOs are only  a façade to mislead the International community.

And despite the high number of Mine/ERW casualties, there is no specific victim assistance framework in Iran and in Kurdistan we never heard from aboved NGOs belonging to Quds forces.

Under the ICCPR, every individual must be guaranteed the right to security and the enjoyment of all civil rights. The Iranian authorities have expressly neglected the Kurdish and ethnic groups areas from demining and assistance programs, which hampers seriously the daily life of civilians in all fields.

We therefore urge the Human Rights Council to address the landmines problem in Iran. While we hail the appointment of Mr. Ahmed Shaheed as Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, we also urge him to undertake effective measures to ensure that the rights of Kurdish civilians are respected and the above-mentioned practices of the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran cease.

Finally we urge the Human Rights Council, the Secretary-General as well as Member States to act in unity and decisively to promote and protect the human rights of the Kurdish people and other national and religious minorities in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Thanks for your attention,

Taimoor ALIASSI

Association of Human Rights of Kurdistan of Iran-Geneva


[1] See Landmine Monitor Report 2008, p. 860; and see Mahdi Afruzmanesh, “Iran: Hidden Menace of Iron Soldiers,” Paywands Iran News (Tehran), 17 June 2008, www.payvand.com.

[2] See Landmine Monitor Report 2008, p. 860; and EDDie Banks, “Demining  in Iran,” Journal of Mine Action, Issue 9.2, February 2006, www.maic..jmu.edu.

[3] One report cites 112 mines recovered, including 50 antipersonnel mines. “Landmines deport smuggled from Commander’s house,” Pajheok Afghan News, 25 January 2088; and see “Iranian Land Mindes Found in Taliban Commander’s house,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 25 January 2008.

[4] Tajikistan Article 7 Report, Form B2, 3 February 2008.

[5] The report states that on 25 July 2006 an aircraft carrying arms, including an unknown quantity if mines, from Iran landed at Baldogle airoport and was met by senior members of the Courts Union and the dayniile Islamic Court. “Report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia pursuant to Security resolution 1676 (2006).” S/2006/913, 22 November 2006, p. 22.

[6] Geneva Call’s Deed of Commitment for Adherence to a Total Ban on Anti-Personnel Mines and for Cooperation in Mine Action engages non-state actors in the landmine ban. http://snipurl.com/1qisy. Accessed 10 September 2007.

[7] [6] “Information about Landmine Explosion Victims,  UN, “2006 Portfolio of Mine Action Projects,” New York, 2007, p. 199.

(کوردی) کونفرانسی””مینی دژەنەفەر و مافی ژیان لە ئێران و رۆژهەڵاتی ناوەڕاست دا” له‌ ڕێکخراوی نه‌ته‌وه‌یه‌کگرتووه‌کان

(کوردی) به‌ڕێوه‌چوو نی کۆنفرانسێک له‌ ژێر ناوی “چۆن پرسی کورد به‌رینه‌ پارله‌مانی سویس”

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(فارسی) کنفرانسی تحت عنوان، مسئله‌ی کردها را چگونه به پارلمان سوئیس ببریم

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